The Pianista Traveling Museum—A 15 Year Sculpture and Painting Retrospective by Michael Frassinelli: May 4-27, 2018

The Piano Craft Gallery is thrilled to present The Pianista Traveling Museum—A 15 Year Retrospective of Painting and Sculpture by Michael Frassinelli. The opening reception will be held on Friday May 4, 2018 from 6:00-9:00pm


To enable more guests to view this truly amazing exhibition, we are offering extended gallery hours the week of the 21st.

The Pianista Traveling Museum can now be viewed Monday-Friday 4pm to 8pm through the 25th. Additionally, we will be hosting a a Closing Reception this Saturday the 26th from 12pm to 5pm featuring an Artist Talk at 2pm.

Please join us!


The Pianista Traveling Museum

My work centers around sculptures and installations made from old piano parts, which are attributed to a fictional tribe known as the Pianistas and represented as artifacts from this lost culture, collectively known as The Legend of the Pianistas. The work is displayed as a natural history museum exhibit, complete with text panels, glass cases, archival photographs, video, sound installation, a fully illustrated museum catalog, documentary film, a fully functional wooden canoe, small wheeled vehicles, a two-hundred page hand-written fictional memoir, and a variety of other ephemera.  The series presents an alternative / parallel thesis (complete with debating scholarly texts and recently discovered evidence) in which the whole body of artifacts and the legend itself may have been an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a museum docent / immigrant folk artist from the Chicago Field Museum at the turn of the 19th century named Alfonzo Renato Veneto.


The upcoming show at the Piano Craft Gallery in May is entitled The Pianista Traveling Museum, and will include all of the objects, images, and other artifacts from the past 15 years, hundreds of objects, either on display or, for those objects not available, lost or destroyed, in photographs or paintings. The most recent additions to the series include cabinets of curiosities full of objects made of piano parts, a large, freak-show style banner, trompe l’oeil paintings, and portraits of Pianista chiefs and shamans, wearing masks and ceremonial regalia. (Though originally attributed to 19th century portrait artists such as George Catlin and Charles Bird King, some experts have discovered evidence that suggests these painting may be forgeries--painted in a variety of styles by a variety of people, including Alfonzo Veneto’s sister Anna Maria Veneto, a former nun and recent arrival to America, while she was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, and afterwards.)


Artist Michael Frassinelli was born in Hartford, CT in 1964. He studied art at the University of CT, with a focus on design and sculpture, receiving his BFA in 1986. He has been a prop maker, set designer, mask-maker, free-lance artist and ship’s carpenter, and has worked with a variety of people, from The San Francisco Ballet and Vermont’s Bread and Puppet Theatre, to a German production company and a Balinese mask-carver.

Although he has worked in a variety of art mediums over the last 30 years he has spent the past 14 years developing the series “Legend of the Pianistas” inspired by sculpture made entirely out of piano parts but including satirical writing, paintings, documentary film, sound installation, large-scale structures, and performance.

His earlier work has been shown previously in California and Connecticut, and his recent work in various galleries in and around the Boston area. He has twice been a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Appalachian State University in January of 2011, performing and creating a large-scale installation based on the “Legend of the Pianistas” series. In  2011 two figurative pieces and a large dwelling from the Pianista series were purchased by the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida.

For the past 16 years Frassinelli has taught at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he is currently the Chair of the Visual Arts Department and Director of the Dana Art Gallery. He lives in Holliston, MA in an old farmhouse with his wife and 13-year-old twins.


Tongue Bat Executioner


Screeching Hawk Mask

About the Piano Craft Gallery

The Piano Craft Gallery, dedicated to offering thought-provoking and engaging exhibitions, is a historic Boston landmark located at 793 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts.


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