Under a Dismal Boston Skyline
September 14–October 28, 2018 | Opening Reception: Thurs., September 13 @ 6:00-8:00 p.m.
855 Commonwealth Avenue
Tuesday–Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.
Under a Dismal Boston Skyline examines the city as witness to intensely concentrated moments of artistic experimentation over the last several decades. The exhibition reexamines a group of practitioners working in the late 1970s and 1980s, collectively known as the Boston School. Considering resonances between this group and other iconoclastic artists working outside of Boston’s culturally conservative mainstream, the exhibition connects the Boston School to other artists in the city who have set their own terms for art, life, and community.
Taking its title from a photograph by the late Boston School artist Mark Morrisroe, Under a Dismal Boston Skyline proposes a loose lineage of artists from the late 1970s to the present, tracing affinities in materials and subject matter. With a particular focus on photography, video, and performance, the works in the exhibition challenge archetypes of identity, gender, and community. Across the decades, a rapidly changing city, at once dismal and beautiful, hostile and nurturing, cultivated Boston’s counter-cultural underground. Under the city’s skyline, and under different circumstances and time periods, the artists in this exhibition sought to represent their friends, families, haunts, homes, lovers, and selves.
Participating artists are: Art School Cheerleaders, Bobby Abate, Marilyn Arsem, David Armstrong, Creighton Baxter, Genesis Báez, Melanie Bernier, Dana Clancy, Dead Art Star, Óscar Díaz, Bonnie Donohue, Nan Goldin, Candice Camille Jackson, Maura Jasper, Cindy Kleine, Justin Lieberman, Steve Locke, Mark Morrisroe, Cobi Moules, Luther Price, Esther Solondz, Mike and Doug Starn, Gail Thacker, Shellburne Thurber, and Suara Welitoff.
The exhibition is curated by Lynne Cooney, Artistic Director, Boston University Art Galleries; Leah Triplett Harrington, Independent curator, writer, and editor; and Evan Fiveash Smith, MA Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, Boston University.
Image: © Estate of Mark Morrisroe (Ringier Collection) at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Blow Both of Us, Gail Thacker and Me, Summer, 1978/1986, Vintage chromogenic print (negative sandwich), Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City.
EVENTS & PROGRAMS:
Todd Shalom: Might
Friday, September 28, 5:00pm
Saturday, September 29, 2:00pm & 5:00pm
In this participatory walk, New York-based artist and Boston University alumnus, Todd Shalom, leads a group through a series of prompted actions across the Boston University campus. Incorporating elements of photography, performance art, acoustic ecology, activism, and poetry, participants will investigate and intervene in the daily life of the University’s campus and its variously defined communities.The walk is open to everyone and all abilities. No previous performance experience required.
Note from Todd:
I graduated from Boston University as a marketing major twenty years ago. Within a year, I started to come out––as gay and as an artist. I’m nostalgic for my past, although I wonder how college would have been had I come out sooner. Returning to campus, this walk gives closure. In Might, we will celebrate together our individual and collective uniqueness while questioning the University’s physical and psychological spaces.
The walk holds 12 people and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Reservations are required.
Creighton Baxter: For N
Friday, October 5, 6:00pm
Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery
Creighton Baxter’s process begins and resolves with graphite drawings on paper that often centralize the figure as a point of origin or departure. For N is a three-hour performance that responds to the portrait of a friend. The performance’s metronome is breathing—guiding the piece into explorations of longing, closeness, and queer kinships that hold open space for trauma of the every day.
For N is co-presented by Castledrone, an artist-run gallery in Hyde Park, MA. For N is part of Baxter’s ongoing body of work, Vulnerable Evidence, supported by Castledrone in 2018 with the help of Maggie Cavallo, Anthony Palocci Jr., Tom Maio and Darren Cole.
By Any Means Necessary: Boston Artist-Run Spaces Through the Decades
Wednesday, October 24, 6:00pm
Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery
Boston has long been a vibrant center for artistic experimentation, due in no small part to the artist-led spaces and organizations that have come and gone over the decades. This panel brings together organizers of alternative art spaces founded in different decades that worked outside of the city’s major cultural institutions.
Marilyn Arsem, Founder, Mobius Inc., member of Mobius Artists Group (1975-present)
Mike Carroll, Co-Founder, 11th Hour Gallery (1979-1981)
Timothy Bailey, Co-Founder, Oni Gallery (1997-2005)
Meg Rotzel, Co-founder and Director, Berwick Research Institute (2001-2012)
Moderated by Lynne Cooney and Leah Triplett Harrington
“‘Under a Dismal Boston Skyline,’ These People Are Making Great Art.” Review by Pamela Reynolds in WBUR’s The ARTery, September 12, 2018.
“At BU, a Boston art scene transformed by subversion.” Review by Cate McQuaid in the Boston Globe, September 26, 2018
Review by Kirsten Swenson in Art in America, November 2018 issue
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Review by Heather Kapplow in the Boston Art Review, November 1, 2018.
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