From angry tweets to Yelp reviews to presidential declarations of FAKE NEWS, you can't go anywhere without being subjected to an adult's opinion. It's completely exhausting.
So for this week, we collaborated with the Telling Room, Portland's homegrown writing hub, to get the unvarnished opinions of Maine youth. Students from their summer "Week in Review" camp dove into the city's cultural attractions — new Italian restaurant Lazzari; the song "Anna Kendrick" by Wells rapper Spose; and art exhibitions at SPACE Gallery and the Portland Museum of Art — and told us how they really felt.
We hope you're as charmed by these smart, thoughtful, and brave reviews as we were.
The kids slung a lot of juicy adjectives at new Italian restaurant Lazzari, opened by Taco Escobarr partners Tom Barr and Meg Stanley at 618 Congress Street. They seemed to have a near-universally positive experience, many of them graciously thanking Lazzari server Thomas Smallwood. We loved how Lazzari invoked memories of cultural traditions in faraway lands for Ahmed and Phoebe, and other students' depictions of the sights, smells, and tastes of the restaurant experience were deliciously evocative.
"A Flavor Party in My Mouth"
Walking down Congress Street, I wonder where is Lazzari? when a friendly server welcomes me. She’s holding a mouthwa- tering salad topped with goat cheese. I enter the spacious and clean restaurant and smell wood-fired pizza. I savor the scent.A friendly waiter named Thomas hands me a menu. I look over to see Rich Maggi, Lazzari’s head chef, sweating from making mouth watering pizza.
When I finally see a dozen fresh, delicious, mouthwatering pizzas come out of the copper oven, I jump up and lunge towards the fresh pizza. I smell the aroma of brussels sprouts and mozza- rella and imagine what the extravaganza of flavors will be like.
First up: brussels sprout. I take my first bite and the flavor’s melting in my mouth. I taste a mix of creamy, sweet, and tangy greens and cheese. I’m having a flavor party in my mouth and the brussel sprouts and the goat cheese are the life of it. Next up is the margherita. I pick it up, then, like the last pizza, I devour it. All the flavors go very well together. The mozzarella is chewy and warm, while the basil freshens things up. The flavors clash leav- ing a sweet, pleasant taste in my mouth.
The woman who first welcomed me introduces herself as Co- Owner Meg Stanley and says that she and her husband Tom Barr (former owner of Nosh) run Taco Escobarr and Lazzari. I then walk up to the counter to talk to the hardworking chef, Richard Maggi. I ask him where they get all of their scrumptious food. He then says that they make a portion of their food in house and that they also get a lot of their food from Italy.
At the end of the meal, I am surprised to see Meg and Thomas approaching us, carrying espresso cups of ice cream and mint. I take the mini spoon and keep spooning more and more rich ice cream into my mouth until ... well, the bad news comes ... I’m done. As I walk out, I see a few couples walking in and think, lucky people! Outside, Congress Street does not smell as great as Lazzari.
Colby J. Shumway, 11
"Tom Barr Knocks It Out of the Park Again"
This Monday, I had the privilege of eating a variety of pizzas at Lazzari, the new restaurant by the owner of Taco Escobarr and former partner at Nosh, Tom Barr. As soon as I walked in the door, I was impressed. Booth after booth boasted shiny black cushions, leaving room in the center of the floor. The whole setup created an open air atmosphere that left me wanting to jump around. Dominating the back of the room was a huge copper wood stove, looking like a giant steampunk dome. The booths, while appearing small, were impressively roomy, able to hold six people without a problem. Even coming with a large party and order, the service was exceptionally fast — 15 minutes at most for eight pizzas.
The first pizza I tried was their signature pancetta and brussels sprouts. The first bite was heavenly. The brussels sprouts were crispy and salty, and the cheese was juicy and soft. The pancetta was tangy and added a much-needed hint of spice. The whole slice went down in four bites. The next piece of pizza I tried was the margherita. The tomato sauce was pleasantly smooth and chunk free, while the mozzarella was malleable and gooey.
For my last piece, I chose the sausage and onion. This piece was the most ordinary. The onions were still crispy, but too cooked for my liking. The sausage, the high point of the slice, was strangely absent from large portions of the crust. I guess they're still perfecting their food, having barely opened two months ago.
But what's a delicious meal without a delicious dessert — and Lazzari delivered. Their vanilla soft serve was dotted with mint and chocolate chunks, melding the three flavors together to create something truly delicious.
Eli Podolsky, 13
"Just A Bite of Pizza"
As I turn left onto Congress Street, I see Lazzari. The other students and I at my Telling Room summer camp were researching the restaurant all morning long. One of my teachers went to Lazzari the night before. She purposely didn’t want to try out the food because she knew we were going there the next afternoon. When she told us that the food looked delicious and meatballs smelled amazing, I got excited. As I walked into the restaurant, it looked old fashioned. It had a wood fired oven at the end of the room. I smelled the strong flavor of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and burnt wood. As I sat down I thought, this is going to be an awesome lunch.
Then the waiter came and said, “Hi, my name is Thomas, what can I get you?” Some people said “margherita pizza” and some said “sausage and onion pizza” and some said “roasted tomato and olive pizza." I choose margherita. As I bit into the margherita, I tasted the happiness of the tomatoes. As the cheese started to stretch the taste of the firewood filled my mouth with joy. I heard people say, “this is the best pizza I’ve ever tasted,” and others simply say “mmmmm.” I could feel the excitement and energy in the room grow.
The pizza had the taste of the firewood, and it gave it a texture of burnt wood that made it perfect. It reminded me of the taste of when my dad used to cook fish with firewood, and it gave me a strong feeling of home. In Maine, we cook at our house in front of the garage. My dad gets firewood from the hardware store near our house and cooks the fish in a fire pit. In Iraq, my grandfather and dad used to cook with coal and firewood in a pit in the ground surrounded by stones. My grandfather is a really good fisherman. There were stands on each side of the pit and they would cook the fish horizontally, half hour on each side until it’s really done.
My experience at Lazzari was filled with excellent quality, and magnificent service. Who knew that just a bite of pizza could take you back to a pleasing memory cooking with your family.
Ahmed Al Mshakheel, 12
If craving Italian cuisine, one needs to look no further than Lazzari. The restaurant owned by Taco Escobarr’s Tom Barr opened its doors on May 29 at 618 Congress Street in downtown Portland. Barr’s original idea was to create a cultural mediterranean restaurant, but that idea was changed to Italian — much to the consumer's delight. Lazzari captures everything one would want in Italian food. As a frequent traveler to Italy, I was more than pleased with everything.
Upon arrival, we’re greeted by a friendly man named Thomas. Looking around the restaurant, I can see that the tables, chairs, and booths are comfortable, and there is a bar in the room if that’s more your thing. The space is lit by a dim, warm light that contrasts with the traditional wood stove in the back of the room. As we settle in, I hear soft music playing in the background, which completes the atmosphere.
After ordering tomato and basil, pancetta and onion, and margherita pizzas, our group chats a little until our food arrives after about 10 to 15 minutes. It is hot and ready to eat. Everything fits together into a masterpiece of a meal. The black pepper gives the pizza a kick, and the fresh mozzarella melts in my watering mouth. The dessert was vanilla ice cream served in an espresso cup, with shaved mint and dark chocolate on top. I love a good dark chocolate taste, and this one is heavenly. Every taste and every bite at Lazzari bring back memories of being at a streetside cafe in Rome as the beautiful Colosseum towers in from of me. The food is soon gone.
Pizza ingredients such as sauce, dough, and cheese are made right in the restaurant. It has a Portland feel, as I can see the hustle and bustle of the streets out of the large front windows. It also gives me an experience of being away on a trip in Italy, experiencing everything the beautiful country has to offer. Overall, Lazzari is perfect for any date night, family gathering, or friend get together. With the right combination of cultural and homey vibes you are sure to fall in love with it, just as I did.
Phoebe Van Soest, 13
"Lazzari, Not Just Any Pizza"
Before I enter the large yet comfortable Italian pizza restaurant, Lazzari, opened May 29 by Tom Barr, I look around realizing that the restaurant is located in a very convenient spot on 618 Congress Street in the center of downtown Portland. Right before I walk in, I notice their menu pressed against the window next to the front entrance. As I walk in I see tables for two to my right and large comfortable seating for groups and/or families against the wall in a straight line to my left. I see modern and rustic touches throughout. I walk to sit in a comfortable black booth, that easily seats 6, and I hear soft, calm music in the background.
Right away a waiter comes to ask what we would like to drink and gives us menus. Lazzari is not just limited to pizza, they have a variety of options. When our water comes, someone accidentally spills it on the table, and the waiters are immediately there cleaning up. The owners/employees are more than happy to tell us some interesting facts about Lazzari, such as they make their own cheese, sauce, and dough in the restaurant. Then they hand out plates and utensils. It’s after they leave that I notice the huge wood fired stove used to make their pizzas. I also notice a large selection of different kinds of beer and wine, and they’re kitchen isn’t closed off, which is unique. It is a peaceful wait; when our food arrives, I am so excited. I take two pieces of cheese pizza, indulged by the delicious scent. The pizza is absolutely amazing.
We order Margarita, Basil and Tomato, and Sausage and Bacon. I only try Margarita, but my tablemates taste the other options and say they are “mouthwatering”. The pizza has the perfect amount of cheese and sauce, along with a thin yet fluffy crust. As for dessert they have a large range of options. I had the delicious mint chocolate chip soft serve ice cream served in an espresso mug.
Overall, Lazzari is a perfect place to eat, drink, and relax. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether you’re hanging out with your buddies, or going out to dinner with your family. I completely recommend that you check out Lazzari’s tasteful Italian cuisine.
Safia Majid, 12
"The Flavorful Battle"
Walking into the restaurant, the first thing your eyes go to is the large copper wood fired pizza oven. It’s the largest object in the room. After you spot that, you look around the large room — it’s organized in a disorganized way. Welcome to Lazzari, a delicious pizza place located at 618 Congress Street in downtown Portland. The friendly staff greets us and we walk to our booths. We are handed the menu and look at the pizza combinations. These are ingredients you would never think to put on pizza. For lunch we order a Margherita, Roasted Tomato and Olive, Brussel Sprout and Pancetta, and Sausage and Onion.
While waiting for our food, one of the owners, Meg Stanley came over and told us they make their own dough, cheese and sauce. The restaurant opened on May, 29, 2017 and is owned by Stanley and husband Tom Barr, who formerly owned the restaurant Nosh and currently own Taco Easabar. After a short wait we got our pizza. I had a slice of Margherita, and Brussel Sprout and Pancetta. When I bit the pizza it was like an attack of flavors that are battling for attention in my mouth. After the pizza we had delicious vanilla soft serve with mint chocolate chips served in an adorable little mug with a tiny spoon. Lazzari doesn’t only make pizza though, they also have salads, calzones, meatballs and espresso. All and all Lazzari was a delicious place with very friendly staff and I would definitely go back.
Alice M. Donahue, 12
The song "Anna Kendrick" by SPOSE
Channeling their inner Sasha Frere-Joneses, the kids dove deep into the Spose track "Anna Kendrick" from the rapper's new album Good Luck With Your Life — but not all of them came away impressed. Though a Skype interview with Spose (a/k/a the very good sport Ryan Peters) seemed to provide them with compelling information to round out the review, the kids had their own takes on the rapper's unique style. Much respect to Alice for backing up her criticism with strong reasoning, and to Liam, Ahmed, and Sebastian for their diligent background research on this complex performer.
"Spose Is My Jam"
Spose, a native Maine rapper, writes catchy songs that will have you tapping your foot and enthusiastically bobbing your head. He is from Wells and continues to be successful because of his clever lyrics and appealing beats. He is thirty-two years old and a father of four.
A perfect testament to his ingenious lyrics comes in the form of his relatively new song titled “Anna Kendrick.” Spose released the entire album containing “Anna Kendrick” and twelve other songs through an interactive video game called “The King of Maine” on May 5. The album is called Good Luck With Your Life. This scrambled way to drop an album demonstrates Spose’s creativity and ingenuity. “Anna Kendrick” is a witty song containing many clever lines. He says, “Someone asked me how it feels to be a one-hit-wonder and I say, good, but how does it feel to have zero hits?”
Spose is confident, but not cocky. His tough past has likely humbled him and withheld him from taking success for granted. Another excerpt from his song is “You see, if Spose can do it, you can do it.” He was broke and troubled, but his popularity is growing and he is now reasonably famous in the music industry.
“Anna Kendrick,” however, is not the only song in his new album. Other catchy tunes include “Another Man’s Logo,” featuring the rapper Shang High. Spose raps to a hard beat and talks honestly about his economic troubles and how he has escaped them. In “Pretty Dope,” he sings about his dreams, hence the term he repeatedly mentions — "that’d be Pretty Dope.” His new album speaks primarily about how his past has been rough but the future will be better.
Despite the fact that Maine may not be seen as a hotbed for hip-hop, “The King of Maine” is a valid example of a very likable rapper from the state. Overall, the man makes catchy lyrics to compliment producer God.Damn.Chan’s melodic beats. Additionally, his fresh album demonstrates his lyrical genius and humorous personality.
Sebastian Segre, 14
"The Alleged 'King of Maine'”
A middle-aged man appears on the screen. He has a beard, a crowd of visible tattoos up his arms (including a full-body portrait of Celtics legend Paul Pierce), and is wearing a red shirt.
Meet the "King of Maine," Spose the rapper. Spose was born on July 1,1985 as Ryan Michael Peters. At 15 — he tells us over a video chat — he was kicked out of a band and began rapping. At 22, he had his first album out. Now, ten years later at 32, Spose is on tour for his fifth album, Good Luck With Your Life.
He loves to write. In fact, Spose says he raps because it allows him to continue writing and expressing himself. The first track on Good Luck With Your Life is called “Anna Kendrick.” The first time I listened to it, I was very on the fence. I didn’t like the lyrics, but I was okay with the beat. By the third listen, I had gotten more than enough of the rapper that is Spose. The beat became repetitive and a little odd, as if it didn’t match the lyrics. The lyrics themselves were unappealing and racist like when he says, “Got me so good at math, you'd think I was Asian.” I understand that Spose’s approach may seem like sarcasm to some people, however when listening to the song it seemed kind of rude to me. Additionally, “Anna Kendrick” is self-centered. For instance, when Spose says, “If you don't like me, you don't like you.” Honestly Spose, I don’t particularly like your music, but I love myself, so you're wrong.
With flat beats and racist generalizations in your unappealing lyrics, you are not the King of Maine. You have to earn that title, you are not even close. Good luck with your life, Spose!
Alice M. Donahue, 12
"He’s the King of Maine"
As the song “Anna Kendrick” starts to play, I am already feeling the rhythm. Spose starts the song with a Walt Whitman reference, who Spose calls one of the ”Original O.Gs” of Maine rapping.
Spose was born in Portland, so one of his main goals is to be a successful rapper from Maine, which isn’t a particular hot-spot for celebs. The song progresses, and includes a clever saxophone sample from a Joe Clemmer song, that Spose’s producer, Portland's God.Damn.Chan, made a rhythm over.
As the rapping filters in, Spose begins to drop witty, edgy lines like, ”Got me so good at math you think I'm Asian.” Spose makes references to people such as Anna Kendrick and David Ortiz as well.
When we video-chatted with him from tour in Los Angeles, he said that this song was meant to be a segue between rapping about being poor and rapping about being rich. To do this, he addresses doubts and hates that people might exhibit about his new album. I think this is a smart move for a guy like him because it will reduce the amount of hate that might be headed his way. The song also doesn’t have a chorus. I like this because it’s just another chance for Spose to show his diversity and creativity. This makes me more interested in Spose as a person.
I have to say, I enjoyed Spose’” music, but I am also fully intrigued in him as a person. If your Spotify shuffle turns to “Anna Kendrick,” or if you get a chance to meet Spose, give him a shot, because you never know what you will find.
Liam Fay-LeBlanc, Age 12
"Born in Maine"
Spose is 32 years old, and was born in Portland, Maine on July 1st 1985. He started rapping in 2004, when he was in the eighth grade. He now has five albums, three singles, three daughters, and one son.
His latest album is titled Good Luck With Your Life and the first song is called “Anna Kendrick.” In the lyrics, he claims, “If Spose can do it, you can do it.” He’s saying that by learning from our failures, his fans can achieve things even better than he can. He’s trying to say that if he is succeeding, so can we. His lyrics are clever because he has strong feelings, for example, when he says, “I will smack Donald Trump back to The Apprentice.” He is trying to be funny, and when I listened to it for the first time it made me laugh when he said the line, “Got me so good at math, you’d think I was Asian.” Spose’s lyrics go with the flow and the rhythm of the beat, and when I listen to his song, I tap my foot. The rhythm turns up as he raps.
Before we had the chance to video-chat with Spose, I thought he was bragging about his money and showing off what he has, but when we actually spoke with him he was really friendly! When we asked him questions, he said yes to each and every one. The rhythm of his song, “Anna Kendrick” starts off sad, and then he starts joking around, and the energy grows. When I asked him, “What do you like about rapping?” he said that he loves to share his songs with other people. Some people asked him, “What do you like about going around the country?” and he said he likes to see the cities and learn about people. Spose talked about how this is his first time travelling around the United States, when most people do that after college.
Spose writes his own songs, and it makes the experience of listening to his music more truthful, you know he’s being who he is.
Ahmed Al Mshakheel, 12
The Yemeni-Bosnian-American artist Alia Ali has brought one of the more complex and arresting exhibitions that SPACE Gallery has seen in years. It's a tall order for most serious art reviewers (like our esteemed Lia Wilson, who said the show "resonated with urgency" in her review titled "Optical Inclusion" on June 27), but 12-year-old Anne approached it with interest and a fresh set of eyes, and wrote a compelling review. Meanwhile, Lila and Sam seemed blown away by "Exquisite Corpse," a series of collectively rendered, hive-mind illustrations by local artists making work from an idea born from French Surrealist games.
"Alia Ali’s + | - exhibit bringing cultural equality through artwork"
As I walk into the black and dimly lit room in SPACE Gallery on Congress Street, my attention immediately goes to the photographs on the walls. These photographs are by Alia Ali, a Yemeni-Bosnian artist on exhibit through July 29. The photos are of her and her husband wrapped from the chest up in colorful textiles. The reason for the photos is that Alia Ali wanted to celebrate cultural differences. Using fabric that is so thick that it is impossible to distinguish women from man, black from white, blonde from brown, creating equality through artwork. The photos are almost hypnotizing with the contrasting colors and the geometric and floral patterns.
Our guide and interim director of SPACE Gallery, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, informed us that when Alia Ali came to install the artwork the first thing she asked was, “What can I cover?” With that question, she covered the chairs, tables, stage, bar, sound booth, and pillars in beautiful and colorful floral patterned fabric that matches the textiles in her photos. Yet again before she hung the work she asked, “Can I paint the walls black?” The walls slowly transformed from matte white to midnight black, the artwork was hung, and the exhibit was opened to the public.
What has stolen much of the public’s attention was the mysterious title of +|-. This title was Alia Ali’s way of letting the public title the art appropriate to how it spoke to them. Between the beautiful fabric, the hypnotizing photos, and the mysterious title, Alia Ali’s work is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Anne Heissenbuttel, 12
This very unique art gallery is sure to give you inspiration. The wonderful art in SPACE Gallery’s annex is both modern and abstract! When you first walk in, you see three huge walls with outstanding artwork on them...literally! When the Telling Room camp and I went to go take a tour of Exquisite Corpse — which lasts from June 8 to September 9 — one of the very sweet and enthusiastic artists that participated in the artwork on the walls gave us a bit of background on the process of making of the show.
“It’s sort of like a game.” said Josh Reiman, one of the artists that started off the project. “First, one artist starts off by making, or drawing something on the wall” he said, pointing at first huge wall. “Usually, it takes the artist about a week to complete the first section. Then when the artist is done, they cover up most of their work with a sheet, or blanket of some kind. But, they leave a tiny glimpse of their creation unveiled so that the next artist can expand on their creation after that. This process keeps going until you reach the end of the wall, or walls. Then at the end, all of the artists pull down the sheets or blankets, and you see the creations that that the artists made.”
I was so fascinated, and intrigued by the description, and the art. There was pop art, sketches on the wall, nail and string art creating the White House, and even a 3D map of the original Lafayette Hotel!
Exquisite Corpse was abstract, modern, and unique. That itself was jaw-dropping. But best of all, Exquisite Corpse inspired me, and hopefully many other people in Portland. Whether you are an artist, a journalist, or just someone in need of inspiration, the Exquisite Corpse exhibit is the place to go.
Lila Happel, 11
The White House made out of string is the tip-off. This is going to be … interesting.
As I look around at the SPACE Gallery exhibit Exquisite Corpse, the artists' different styles are definitely separate, but they merge together to form a very long image covering three of the four walls. The paragraph on the wall to my right labels the theme as “The Apartment.” The first art piece, done by Ethan Morrow, depicts the White House being lifted by a simple pulley system, the bottom foundation crumbling away. The next piece, done by Josh Reiman and Addy Smith-Reiman, is what seems like an aerial city map, with the buildings colored in by small circles. Overlaid over the map is an outline of a building floor plan. The floor plan matches the shape of a building outlined in nails on the lower left, and a single floor plan of aluminum on the right.
The next piece, done by Anthony Young, uses the circles of the positive space from the previous piece as water droplets coming from a fire hydrant, with kids in bathing suits clustered around it. Behind them, drawn in white chalk on black like a crime scene, is a black couple embracing in front of a black house with two black hoodies on a clothesline. Behind them, a geometric shape opens up into a bright pattern that takes up the whole back wall. Done by Carly Glovinski, this piece almost doesn’t fit in with the metaphorically moody images around it. The next painting, done by Jamal Thorne, depicts a wood beam standing on end with a lobster perched atop it. A pulley system hoists up bottles of drugs, and a sign reads "LePage, our Governor." The last piece, by Aaron T Stephan, Is a paragraph about concrete buildings, with hand made concrete blocks stacked beneath it. I like this one, as the letters are drawn by hand, which is challenging to do.
Overall, I would recommend Exquisite Corpse to anyone, because it has a way of connecting with everyone.
Sam Mossberg, 13
Portland Museum of Art
Reviews seemed mixed on the 20th-century master of abstraction Hans Hofmann, and we loved how ready 13-year-old Eli Podolsky was to assess fine art, take it seriously, and roundly dismiss it. (Also, major points for the punny title.) Elsewhere, Thomas Leopold had some astute insights about the historical exhibition of New American Sculpture from 1914-1945, featuring works by Gaston Lachaise, Robert Laurent, Elie Nadelman, and William Zorach.
When I walked in the Hans Hoffman exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art, I expected art with a purpose. Instead, I got a ragtag jumble of styles and themes that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Let's start with the few positives. Hans Hoffman is talented and skillful. I won't deny him that. Some of his childishly simple art betrays a technique and a method that has the potential to be extraordinary. Some of his city scapes are intricately detailed and deserve a good look.
His more abstract works are a jumble of styles, something that I heavily dislike in one exhibit. I would appreciate more consistency from his art. He attempts to make his work simple and meaningful, something that backfires into making his drawings seem childish, and a juvenile attempt at telling a story through images. Only one of his abstracts, Ambush, really strikes a chord with me. It depicts a peaceful natural scene, but dominated by huge dripping slashes of red. It really gives you a peek inside Hoffman's head, something that many of his other works deny you through a combination of lack of color, and too much space used, leaving an excessive amount of features to look at and nothing to focus on. This combines with a lack of purposeful theme in much of his work, making it seem like he just threw whatever onto the paper. This can work in some cases, but when you also have beautifully detailed drawings of cities form the same artist, it feels like he was focused on experimenting and experimenting alone, lacking any coherent goal from all the mediums and styles he uses.
Hans Hoffman is a talented artist, but much of his work feels too scattered and incomplete to be something I will ever truly enjoy looking at.
Eli Podolsky, 13
"Swirls On Paper"
The Hans Hofmann exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art is fascinating. Hans Hoffman's style of art is not to look realistic but to capture the feeling or essence in the scene. Hoffman also has a wide variety of different styles. Some of his painting are geometrical, colorful, playful, dark, scribbly, sobbing and sweeping. A wide spacious room is filled with some of Hans Hofmann’s greatest pieces. My favorite is Untitled, 1961 because of the happy vibes I receive from from the colorful organic swirls that make me feel like I am at Fenway Park.
In 1880, Hans Hoffman was born. At a young age, Hoffman was interested in art and modernizing the world. When he got older he decided to take it on as a job. A little way into his career Hoffman became famous for his beautiful abstract paintings and his valued and successful teachings and writings that changed the world.
Even if you aren’t already a member at the PMA, it would be worth the money to check out this exhibit. This is a fascinating exhibit and I think that if you have some free time on your hands then you should definitely check it out. The exhibit ends soon so get there fast.
Owen Tighe, 12
"In The Action — Amazing 'New American Sculpture' Exhibit at the PMA"
In the immense temporary exhibit gallery at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is the New American Sculpture exhibit, full of amazing sculptures. Made from many different materials and in so many different ways, all the sculptures look so different — but as I look closer, I realize they all were somewhat alike. One theme it seems like all the sculptures are trying to portray is a freeze-frame effect. If you have ever taken a video of somebody doing a flip or a video of any movement, a freeze-frame is a point in that video that shows action in a single frame. Using the flip example, a freeze-frame could be the point where the person doing the flip’s head was upside down. Them being upside down definitely shows the action of the flip.
One sculpture that caught my eye for being a great example of a freeze-frame is one by Gaston Lachaise, titled “Floating Nude Acrobats.” It is of two acrobats jumping opposite ways in an X-formation. Both are airborne and their bodies are arched. In New American Sculpture, sculptors often try to tell a story in one frame. If I were to use the acrobats as an example, they tell me a story of maybe these amazing circus actors that are midway through their grand finale.
The burning question you have right now is most likely, “What the heck is this new style of American sculpture and how is it different from other sculpture?” Well, it is focused more on making something natural and expressive with the human body, instead of make the body as realistic as possible. The sculptors still try to make the body somewhat realistic, but mainly, they're expressive. Sometimes they use the body to show inhuman objects. For example, if a body was thin and wavy and was arched sideways, you could possibly call the sculpture “Wheat” that is blowing in the wind. The body is almost acting like a wheat stalk. This style of sculpture also uses different materials to tell different stories. If you were a sculptor, would you use stone or wood for a sculpture called “Rocky Coastline”? Most likely, you would use stone because that matches the title best and fits in with the sculpture.
I was deeply intrigued by New American Sculpture and enjoyed learning about it. I recommend that you should check out this exhibit, but get to it soon because it closes September 8.
Thomas Leopold, 12