Greenway-wide Curatorial Theme to be reflected in artworks throughout the 1.5-mile park
MAY 8, 2017 – BOSTON, MA – The Greenway Conservancy (rosekennedygreenway.org) announced three artists who will install works as part of a park-wide curatorial theme of “Playful Perspectives.” The Greenway’s award-winning public art program has commissioned Meredith James, Mark Reigelman, and Aakash Nihalani to install new works over the next 3 months. Installation on two of the works began this past weekend.
Playful Perspectives is an exhibition of large-scale, site-specific commissioned works by artists with rising careers whose works playfully and delightfully expose the vulnerability of one’s sense of perspective. These works manipulate visual perception through the use of scaled objects and optical illusions, blurring the boundaries between art and everyday life, and between expectation and reality. In addition to the artworks, Playful Perspectives will juxtapose play structures such as tetherball with the landscape of downtown Boston and invite people of all ages to play. By inserting these works in spaces that thousands of people pass through in the course of their daily routine, the exhibition seeks to reimagine the mundane. These new works will join two already on display on The Greenway: Spaces Of Hope, painted by artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo as the fifth Greenway Wall mural at Dewey Square Park and Make and Take by Chris Templeman, an in-park 3D-printer running 24 hours a day in Chinatown Park to manufacture roughly 2000 tiny plastic roosters to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rooster.
“With this unified curatorial theme, we give visitors another reason to walk the length of The Greenway from Chinatown to the North End,” offered Jesse Brackenbury, Greenway Conservancy Executive Director. “With private support, we’re excited to continue to push for public space innovation.”
James’ artwork, titled Far from this setting in which we now find ourselves, is being installed on The Greenway near Hanover Street. For her Greenway installation, James will create a three-walled trapezoidal room built with a false perspective. The room appears square and regular from one viewpoint, but people inside the room seem to be different sizes depending on where they stand, offering participants (and those witnessing their Instagram photos) an optical illusion where the believable setting becomes implausible. Often referred to as an Ames Room, named for American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, such structures create an effect where a person appears to grow or shrink while moving from one side of the room to the other. James’ Greenway work will be 34 feet long, approximately 450 square feet, and will have exterior “green walls” of living plants.
Mark Reigelman’s The Meeting House is a New England Quaker—style wooden home that will be sinking – or rising? – from a lawn on The Greenway between Pearl and Oliver streets. The artwork references both historical and social perspectives, takes its inspiration from the simple architecture of the area’s first colonial settlers, and provides commentary on the area’s layered history – from waterway to reclaimed land for similar homes to an elevated highway and, eventually, the present-day Greenway. While the piece encourages visitors to explore the area’s built environment and consider the fluidity of Boston’s landscape, it will also likely become a meeting place as was its inspiration – the Pembroke Friends Meeting House. The artwork, fabricated in more than 20 individual parts and constructed using traditional woodworking techniques, is being assembled beneath the pie of sky where the Conservancy showcased Janet Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in 2015.
Aakash Nihalani’s use of bright, bold lines are the impetus in his creation of 3D images and objects on two dimensional planes. They appear as suspended animations in time and require viewer interaction and participation. Nihalani’s works create playful interactions with the viewer, allowing the viewer to disconnect from their daily routines for a few unexpected moments. The Greenway project would be Nihalani’s first longer-term outdoor public artwork and details on Nihalani’s specific Greenway design will be forthcoming.
“Meredith, Mark and Aakash are putting forth stimulating pieces that will monumentalize the mundane and beckon park visitors to interact with the works and temporarily suspend their notion of what’s possible,” said Lucas Cowan, Greenway Public Art Curator.
The works by James, Nihalani and Reigelman will be joined by the four winners of the Design Biennial Boston 2017. Design Biennial showcases emerging architects, landscape architects, and designers who are developing innovative and inspiring practices in New England. The four winning firms from this year – Jennifer Bonner of MALL, Rania Ghosn & El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH, Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab, and Yasmin Vobis & Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE – will showcase designs responding to the Playful Perspectives theme in site-specific locations throughout The Greenway. The projects begin installation in late June. The 2017 Design Biennial Boston is sponsored by Autodesk BUILD Space, the Boston Art Commission, the Boston Society of Architects/AIA, the BSA Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, over,under/pinkcomma gallery, and the Greenway Conservancy.
“The Greenway provides an everyday invitation to observe contemporary art – on a walk to work, across from a residence, during a visit to Boston, or when you least expect it. For 2017, we’ve sought to invite both the viewer and the artwork to interact with one and another and have an experience that’s altogether perspective-altering,” Cowan offered.
Each of the artworks shown on The Greenway are privately funded entirely through grants, private donations, and the Conservancy’s earned revenue. For more on how the non-profit Conservancy funds its public art program, see here.
About the Artists
Meredith James works in video, sculpture, and theater to explore mechanisms of perception and the fallibility of observation, revealing the surprising and disorienting potential in the world around us that is both narrative and physical. The New York-based artist incorporates familiar domestic objects, often utilizing them as the contained setting for very small-scale interiors. James’ work vacillates between the surreal and the familial, the visually impossible and the everyday, and explores a new means of pictorial storytelling.
Mark A. Reigelman’s work reevaluates the everyday, reinvigorates public space, and challenges typical urban conditions. Emphasizing research and exploration, his diverse body of work is poised between abstraction and literal representation, which he meticulously integrates into civic spaces. Reigelman studied sculpture and industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH and product design at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, UK. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Aakash Nihalani’s sculpture, painting, and street art playfully transform environments, creating the illusion of 3-D geometric platforms and objects. Working in a fluorescent palette, Nihalani creates temporary designs in public spaces and interiors using paper tape and cardboard, and paints patterned grids and geometric forms. Nihalani’s has been exhibited internationally and featured in a number of publications including: The New York Times, The Times of India, Vogue India and artinfo.com. He has been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout New York, Rome, New Delhi, and London.
About The Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, a roof garden atop a highway tunnel, is a contemporary public park in the heart of Boston. The non-profit Greenway Conservancy maintains, programs, finances, and improves the 1.5-mile Greenway on behalf of the public. The Greenway welcomed 1,379,000 trackable visitors in 2016, and the Conservancy has won numerous awards for our organic landscape care, public art, and programming.
The Greenway Conservancy Public Art Program has in recent years commissioned major new works by Janet Echelman (As If It Were Already Here) and Lawrence Weiner (A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER) and featured a 12-piece traveling work by Ai Weiwei (Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads). Kyu Seok Oh’s Wandering Sheep (2015) was the third Greenway commission in four years to be recognized by Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network as among the country’s best. Past exhibitions can be viewed on The Greenway’s website.