Category: Visual Arts
by Mia Cross (CFA ’14)
On Friday October 5th, renowned Brazilian artist Vik Muniz will visit BU as part of the College of Fine Arts Lecture Series. Some of his most noteworthy work includes large-scale portraits of workers from Jardim Gramacho, the largest landfill in the world, which he created from trash and recyclable materials. Check out his inspiring documentary.
How many times have you passed by this artwork outside of Marsh and wondered what it is? On May 16, 1975 this piece entitled Free At Last was unveiled in memory of BU alumni Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. The sculptors name is Sergio Castillo. The fifty doves represent the fifty states soaring in peace and unison.
Did you know you can follow all of the food trucks on twitter? That way you can check out their hours and menu so you’ll never be left hungry. Take a look.
This Wednesday the College of Fine Arts will host an Internship Panel as a part of their Artist Development Series. Nine students will share their experiences interning in the proverbial “real world.” Paid or unpaid, the experiences a student, in the arts or otherwise, can gain from an internship is invaluable and provides crucial insight as to what lies ahead.
This summer I was fortunate enough to intern at the William Scott Gallery in my beloved South End. Here’s my story as a Gallerina (as my boss so affectionately called us):
From the moment I walked into the gallery for my interview, I knew my potential boss and I would get along swimmingly. I arrived a little on the early side and caught him listening to the musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I introduced myself, and to ease the tension, asked him what he thought about episode. After agreeing upon our mutual disappointment and borderline embarrassment for having dedicated the time to watch the episode, we began the actual interview.
While I listened to Brian talk about his expectations and concerns, I realized just how great an opportunity this internship could be. He didn’t want to simply teach someone the ropes, have them file papers, or simply serve wine at openings; he was looking for a driven, independent person with creative solutions to actually run his gallery.
After a couple weeks of finishing up interviews, he ultimately hired a recently graduated CFA student and yours truly. After a brief orientation on how the gallery functions, we were handed the keys and it was all ours.
Right of the bat, it was a hands on learning experiences. One day I would be drafting press releases, another I was heading up a social media campaign for the gallery—even giving my boss Facebook and Twitter tutorials. The day to day gallery business could be slow at times, so I wasn’t very shocked at how excitedly I threw myself into the preparations for our monthly First Friday openings.
Curating was, without a doubt, the most fun part of the process. Imagine being in a room full of art that has to go up on the walls and look as though it belongs in tandem with the other works. Our job was to sort the puzzle pieces to achieve successful pacing and cohesion while considering how the viewer experiences the artwork. In a multi-artist show, you have to give each artist equal impact to reduce hierarchy and favoritism. I would have to admit that the most challenging aspects of the job came from having to navigate and appease artists’ egos, as well as reconciling different artistic views from the curators (myself and the other intern.) Despite disagreements or difficulties, once the show is hung, I was consistently filled with a feeling of achievement and pride.
With the art up, the artists statements and pricelists printed, the wine uncorked, it was time to open the doors. Often during that slow first half hour, I would sit nervously at the front desk composing the perfect playlist to compliment the show (insider tip: Bonobo works wonders for an abstract, high energy show.) As a selective extrovert, at our First Fridays, I tended to enjoy our openings from a spectator position, so I would burden myself with the task of photographing the night. Either that or I would man the desk, eagerly awaiting a sale, but generally just sitting back with a glass of wine and reveling in a job well done.
In just three and a half months, I went from art student, to Gallerina/curator/social media guru. Spending my days surrounded by art, encouraged to find creative solutions, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone was an eye opening experience. I gained priceless insight on the complex functioning relationships between commercial galleries, the media, artists, and the public. I now have a network of artists and collectors, a stronger artistic voice, and confidence in my professional abilities in the art world. Not a bad place to be as graduation rapidly approaches and I consider the endless capacities in which I can be an artist in the real world.
If you want to hear more about other student intern experiences, I urge you to attend CFA’s Internship Panel from 5-6pm in Room 500. Dinner will be provided as long as you RSVP HERE. Also, stay tuned for their Internship Fair scheduled for January 19th.
So… I have fallen in love with this contest that I read about. The only problem is… I have no hope of ever winning it. So I need one of you to win it!
The MFA is now taking application submissions for The Artist Project, a collaborative effort between the museum, local artists and Boston schools. If accepted into the program, artists get assigned to a group of students at an after school program in the city, and together, they have six months to create a work of art whose inspiration comes from the Museum’s encyclopedic collection.
AND… here’s the kicker… the winner will have their completed work displayed in the MFA. Whaaaaat?! So cool!
I think what really makes me so passionate about this project (because goodness knows it isn’t my skills in the visual arts) is the possibility that artists have to make a difference on their community. So many people think of art as a solitary activity. A lone artist in a room brooding over a canvas or pounding on piano keys. But it has the ability to bring together communities.
Take this, for example:
The concept is so simple it is extraordinary. Bartholl has “injected” USB drives into walls around the city of New York. Passerbys can download or upload any files they wish to share or receive from others. Music, pictures, whatever! That’s some straight up Bansky-quality coolness! I feel like it is through mediums like this that innovation, and “edge” is really discovered.
So basically, what I’m saying is, if you don’t enter the MFA contest, then start putting Dead Drops around Boston (because why should NY have all the fun?)
Read more about The Artist Project (APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 13, 2012)
Read Bartholl’s blog.
A post brought to you by Liz Breen, BU senior, film and television major, lover/aspiring connoisseur of the offbeat. Post/event suggestions welcome via Twitter – @beinglizbreen!
Last Thursday was the School of Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition Opening Reception at the 808 Gallery.
At first when I walked in, I was surprised at how many students braved the horrific weather to come out and support their professors. Yet the opening was much smaller than Graduate Student opening at the end of the year, or the Undergrad exhibitions in the fall.
It was something intimate. Something nice. For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on why this opening was so different.
I finally came to the conclusion that the School of Visual Arts is a family. Only admitting around sixty students per year and an even smaller population of graduate students fosters a tight-nit community of like-minded, driven people from varying backgrounds.
I’m sure every School of Visual Arts student has shared personal experiences with various professors. We can joke about heated games of Words With Friends with one of the uncharacteristically, yet fiercely competitive sculpting professors. We call our professors by their first names. Sometimes we travel to New York for day trips as classes. Or we’ll run into each other at museums or First Fridays. We chat across the street at Starbucks during breaks and really get a chance to get to know each other during our time at BU.
Thursday’s opening was a fun chance to further break down the barriers of the classroom walls to support the faculty they way they support us. It was also a one of a kind opportunity to a glimpse into the creative minds that nurture our own artistic growth.
I encourage everyone to drop in, warm up for a few minutes before your trek home. The broad range of mediums, subject matter, and styles of the works on display guarantees that there is something for everyone and highlights the diversity BU’s School of Visual Arts offers.
The BU Faculty Exhibition will be up at the 808 Gallery until December 11th. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 11am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday 1pm-5pm.
Arielle (CFA ’12) has two simple missions in life: paint and create. She is a self-proclaimed tea snob, an avid people watcher, a critic, and the keeper of useless movie trivia. Want her to check out your event? Don’t be shy! Contact her via Twitter — @brembles
The term “art gallery” doesn’t typically bring warm and fuzzy feelings to most people. Often, we think of a place sterile, overly hushed, elitist, even. As much as I love looking at paintings, I prefer the caverns of the MFA or the intimate setting of the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum than to a Newbury Street gallery, which can have the invisible pressures of overly attentive gallery stewards and the pressure to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the art they are showing. Frankly, it’s a lot to think about when you are just wanting to enjoy the beauty of someone else’s creation.
The 808 Gallery, located at 808 Commonwealth Avenue on the first floor, is, undoubtedly, not a museum. It is one vaulted-ceiling room filled with quickly rotating exhibits. This gallery, however, is different. When you walk in, a student attendant will (maybe) greet you, but it tends to be empty. You are the fish in the fishbowl to the hundreds of students that walk by every day. Art is not sold in this gallery, only displayed, and often the exhibits are student-centric or experimental. From TRIIIBE’s incredible and interactive installation, “In Search of Eden”, shown last Fall, to undergraduate sculpture and printmaking displays, 808 has a way of showing great versatility at the core of its purpose-showing its artists off.
There’s something about the feeling you get in this gallery that strikes you, as well. The interior architecture is art deco, with high, decorated ceilings and beautiful, slick floors. You could image a soiree happening here in 1935, as war and snowstorms rage outside this glowing room. When progressive exhibits, as well as events for students looking towards the future (Senior Ball, anyone?) show here, the juxtaposition of old and new will make you gasp in awe.
As empty as the gallery might seem most days (outside of their fabulous, open to the public, wine and cheese receptions), I encourage you to make this a stop out of your routine for a peaceful respite from the busyness of a typical day. You might even be able to peep a sculpture of a slightly terrifying but expertly crafted Furby (Emma Hendry) or unexpectedly spot your face in one of the photos on the wall (I did).
808 Gallery by the College of Fine Arts
808 Commonwealth Avenue
Tucked away in the midst of the ever-flavorful solo cup graveyard that is Allston Rat City, is Allston’s best-kept secret—Orchard Skate Shop. It’s a skateboard and apparel shop offering an extensive selection of decks and shoes, equipped with a decently sized skate ramp. It’s a friendly spot where moms can drop off their kids so they can drop in off the ramp. The secret gem of this place, however, is their art gallery on the second floor.
How I came to experience their art gallery came about like many of the best circumstances do; you know somebody, that knows somebody, that knows somebody (I dare you to try to say that without Ludacris’ voice in your head.) I was out at White Horse with some other BU painters, when another painter texted one of us saying we had to get ourselves to Orchard for this “sick art show and free PBR!”
The 21+ event was packed, likely thanks to the PBR and Grillo’s Pickles sponsorship and free samplings. When we finally worked our way through the crowd and climbed the stairs, I was shocked at what a great gallery space Orchard has. Who knew?!
The opening was for Tallboy Illustration’s “Brain Dead” Art Exhibition. It was three rooms of original illustrations, silkscreened pieces (some in 3D, others glow in the dark), and installations. It was a menagerie of satanic goats, barfing Garfields, zombies and satirical “barfweiser” motifs. Whoever this Tallboy character was, I knew he was a master of his craft and has a sick imagination. I had to meet him.
I contacted him to meet up and try to get a glimpse of what goes on in his head. Chris “Tallboy” Coulon is an artist from Lynn, MA. He studied graphic design at Salem State College, but after an internship at a print shop, he changed his focus to screen-printing and has been working there ever since—using the facilities after hours to produce his own work. The first room of the gallery space had all original illustrations first done in micron pen, then scanned in and touched up in Photoshop. The next room was more like his bedrooms he explained, including a table, screen printed clothing, pizza boxes, Frisbees, and beer cozies. The piece that stood out to me most was his 3D graphic novel called “Upset Stomach” and, although unintentional, that paired with the mixtape playing provided a fittingly disturbing soundtrack for the short story. The last room was dedicated to his larger installations of multiple reproductions of the same prints, all on wood cut by a buddy of his.
The pacing of exhibition without question gives you an idea of how he works. The illustrations begin with pen and paper; they then manifest themselves in various forms, and finally become bigger and bolder with the wood installation pieces.
His style, he says, is heavily influenced by 80’s gore flicks like “The Toxic Avenger” and, one of my favs, “The Live.” Other times, he finds inspiration from music, as in the case of his goat motif—a spin off of a Slayer album cover. For a show that appears so casual and laid back, Chris’ imagination and soul are laid bare on the walls of the Orchard gallery. The show will be running until early October, so if you want take a spin off the beaten path, or happen to be in Allston at a decent hour (rare, I know) definitely swing by Orchard for the finest visual kick in the face you’ll ever experience.
Orchard Skate Shop:
Monday – Saturday 12-9pm
156 Harvard Ave, Allston, Boston, MA 02134
Did you know that some major works of art have provided insights into how we see? Learn more at the 23rd Annual Giuseppina d’Elia Raviola Memorial Seminar on June 16 at 2 pm on the BU Medical Campus. Harvard Medical School Professor of Neurobiology Margaret Livingstone is the featured speaker. Event is free and open to the public.
Undergraduate visual art students at the BU College of Fine Arts will be featured at the BFA Student Exhibition, May 13 to 22. Opening receptions will be held on Friday, May 13, from 6 to 8 pm. Galleries will include the BUAG at the Stone Gallery, Commonwealth Gallery, CFA Room 102, Gallery 5, and the Sherman Gallery. Event is free and open to the public.
Fresh Flowers, a group exhibition co-organized by School of Visual Arts Assistant Professor Dana Frankfort and guest curator Rodney Harder, highlights floral paintings by amateur painters runs from March 22 through April 29. Opening reception on Wednesday, March 23, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at the Sherman Gallery. Presented by the BU College of Fine Arts.