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ALWAYS BURGEONING, BUT NEVER QUITE MATURING (A LETTER)

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By JANE HUDSON

First, let's say thanks to Matt Nash, Matt Gamber, Micah Malone, James Nadeau, Steve Aishman, Tom Marquet and all the other contributors for the largess that has been Big Red. I knew all these folks when they were students at the Museum School,  and later as friends and colleagues. This was an heroic effort, unparalleled in Boston art coverage, Charles Giuliano's Maverick Arts (currently Berkshirefinearts.com) notwithstanding.

There was a shared belief that the Boston art scene needed reviewing beyond the limited coverage from the major papers in town. Also, these folks committed to a life as artists on the scene, grinding out a living in teaching jobs in order to support their passion. It has been thus as long as I've lived in Boston (now I'm commenting from the other side of the State), some 45 years, that Boston is always burgeoning, but never quite maturing. This is due it least in substantial part to the ever changing population of the educational institutions. Students come to the city, eager to engage, ready to start something, a regular Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland show where they find alternative spaces to show non-salable art, and gradually migrate to the more mainstream galleries until so many have been weeded out or left town that there's then again another generation to take over the great hope.

Boston just doesn't support an active market for art. Yes, pieces sell, and some galleries survive, but in the end if you want cutting edge or investment art you go to New York! Without serious buyers and the institutions that cultivate them, without a world-class reputation for being an international mecca for artists, Boston will always be a regional capital.

I've loved it, but now I'm in the Berkshires and enjoying the intimate but surprisingly cultivated audience for art that lives here and also travels from New York/Boston and points all over the globe. We even have a few critics who write quite intelligently about shows, and of course shows come to Mass MoCA (now showing Sol Lewitt, Petah Coyne), Williams College Museum (This Girl Bends: Art and Feminism Since 1960), and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Picasso Looks at Degas, Juan Munos). Of course there are galleries, concerts, auctions, and wonderful land to explore as well.

I know it's rich in Boston both economically and culturally. So there should be support for entrepreneurs of culture. And each generation of artists tries to find the magic formula. I did and I'm sure others will follow.


Image found here.


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