‘The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus. In single file they eased around the orange I-beam sculpture and moved toward the dormitories. The roofs of the station wagons were loaded down with carefully secured suitcases full of light and heavy clothing; with boxes of blankets, boots and shoes, stationery and books, sheets, pillows, quilts…
I’ve witnessed this spectacle every September for twenty-one years. It is a brilliant event, invariably. The students greet each other with comic cries and gestures of sodden collapse. Their summer has been bloated with criminal pleasures, as always. The parents stand sun-dazed near their automobiles, seeing images of themselves in every direction. The conscientious suntans. The well-made faces and wry looks.’
Don DeLillo, White Noise, Penguin Books
I hope Mr. DeLillo will pardon our little theft, but no one could have written it better. Along with the turning of the leaves, autumn means that the city is crowded again, the average age of the population has dropped, that anyone in Kenmore Square over the age of 25 is ‘old’, and the likelihood of finding vomit on your doorstep has increased exponentially.
This is not to say that having the students back is a bad thing. Sure, those of us who live here year-round like the extra parking spaces in summer, the quiet restaurants, the open seats on the T, but having the students back also brings many benefits. For artists and art-lovers, this means an abundance of great shows, one after another. Nearly every school in the city with a gallery puts its best face forward, and this year is no exception. A John Goodman Retrospective, Ken Feingold, The Charged Image… all of these can be found this month. Many schools follow their back-to-school show with a student group show, highlighting summer work or the new senior class – a treat often full of surprises and fresh vision.
Not to be missed, though, is the first First-Friday opening of the new school year, which has already passed us (on September 10). On that night, the galleries of SoWa, the BCA, and others were all full to overflowing with fresh faces and excited conversation. Anyone present could feel it: the life-blood of Boston is back, the youth are here, and while their conversations may sometimes seem inane or uninformed, the energy is real.
This issue of Big RED celebrates the back-to-school season here in Boston. We have reviewed several of the shows hosted at our illustrious schools, and look forward to the turning of the leaves and the gradual maturing of our young charges.