Beatle’s brother kicks off art exhibit

July 13, 2012
By ANDY GRAY - Entertainment Editor (grayareas@tribtoday.comTribune Chronicle | TribToday.com
HOWLAND - Mike McCartney displayed his sense of humor Thursday at the Butler Institute of American Art Trumbull Branch, both on the walls and in his gallery talk.
The photographer talked about his work and told some family stories in a program in conjunction with the photography exhibition ''Mike McCartney's North Highlands,'' which opens today and runs through Sept. 2.
The lecture was part of the Thomas Schroth Visiting Artist Series at Kent State University, which is named for the Niles architect who designed the Howland museum. Before the lecture, McCartney said, ''I see why (artist Robert) Rauschenberg liked it. The space is perfect.''
The photos taken in northernmost Scotland included images of a deer crossing sign that apparently had been shot at by a frustrated hunter, a flock of sheep who think he is going to feed them instead of photograph them and a Scottish church with a sign out front that said, ''This church is prayer conditioned.'' And McCartney punctuated his anecdotes about the pictures with jokes and animal sounds and elaborate gestures.
''My philosophy is, I'm a Liverpudlian,'' he said. ''I have been cursed with something called a sense of humor.''
In addition to his work as a photographer, which has been shown extensively in the United Kingdom and United States and featured in numerous books and magazines, McCartney also had several British pop hits as a member of the band Scaffold and is the brother of Beatle Paul McCartney.
John Awarski of Cleveland, a family friend who helped arrange the exhibition with the Butler, read a letter before McCartney's talk.
''His work often reflects his own quick wit and sense of humour, and it is fitting he should be exhibiting at the Butler Institute of American Art at this point in his career. He also is a lovely man and I should know - for I am his big brother.''
The letter was signed, ''Paul & the Family."
When someone asked McCartney what their father thought of his sons' accomplishments, he said he was very proud, but their lives might have taken a different course if their mother hadn't died when Mike was 12 and Paul was 14. She was determined her sons would grow up to have proper careers.
''It would have been Prime Minister McCartney and Father McCartney,'' he said.
McCartney spent Wednesday at the Butler galleries in Howland and Youngstown, and Thursday he visited Kent State University and attended a private gathering at the home of Cecile ''Cil'' Driame, who funded the Schroth Lecture Series with her late husband through a $1 million gift to the university.
McCartney will attend a public opening for the exhibition from 10 a.m. to noon today at the Butler Trumbull Brach, 9350 E. Market St. Admission is free.
McCartney encouraged insane ''Ohians'' to come see his ''photees.''
''The more insane Ohians the better,'' he said. ''This is an insane Liverpudlian's view of northern Scotland.''

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