In 1983 the Museum of FIne Art organized a traveling exhibition A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting: 1760-1910. It toured the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Grand Palais in Paris, as well as being shown at the MFA. Artists and members of Boston's African American community protested that the exhibition did not include artists of color. In this 1984 interview former MFA director, Jan Fontein, discussed negotiatons to include the 19th century artist Henry Osawa Tanner. We also covered gaps in 20th century European and American art.
Overview of Boston's Artists and Alternative Galleries
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 17th, 2020
For decades artist, curator, installer James Manning has covered Boston's emerging artists and alternative galleries. Other than when Bill Arning was at MIT List nobody has made a greater effort to interact with emerging artists and their galleries. He had his own gallery Art Vigor in East Boston and was director of Gallery FX, a pioneer of the SOWA art district. This activity was rarely covered by the mainstream media. This is an attempt to document a vibrant era . From 2008 until his death in 2018 Manning worked with curator Joe Ketner at Emerson College.
A 1993 Interview with the Acting Director of the ICA
By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 29th, 2020
A native of Toronto, Matthew Teitelbaum, departed Boston in 1993 to take a curatorial position at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In this interview he was acting director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Then 37, it provides insights of his curatorial vision and process. He went on to be director of the AGO. In 2015 he returned to Boston as director of the Museum of Fine Arts.
The upscale Tourists a hip, designer savvy resort in North Adams, has launched a program of evenings with artists. Last night there was a cozy, well attended fireside chat with artist and musician Jane Hudson. She and her husband Jeff operated Hudsons Antiques formerly at MASS MoCA. They also perform music as Jeff and Jane. Both are widely exhibited artists. She discussed phases of her career which I have followed as friend and commentator since the late 1960s. It was also her birthday.
An exhibition of Vietnam protest paintings by Arnold Trachtman was censored and closed by the admninistration of Harvard University. We remounted it at the Institute of Contemporary Art then on Soldier's Field Road. That formed a professional and personal relationship. He was a part of a niche of major Boston artists that existed out of the mainstream, Yesterday he passed away in Cambridge at 89.
Located in the belly of the beast the annual Anerican Theatre Critics Association New York conferences consistently feature superb programming. The best and brightest of American theatre are as accessible as a phone call and cab ride away. This year a day of panels were held for some 60 national members and guests at the new MCC theatre complex. Where else can you encounter a Pulitzer winning playwright interviewed by a fellow Pulitzer Prize winner. The panels. convened from 9 to 5, were varied, provactive and galvanic.
Jazz entrepreneur Fred Taylor has passed at 90. He never retired producing concerts and programming for the Cabot Theatre in Beverly. Not surprisingly his yet to be published autobiography, a collaboration with Richard Vacca, is titled What and Quit Show Business. Taylor booked Boston's Jazz Workshop/ Paul’s Mall from 1963 to 1978. From 1991 to 2017 he booked Scullers Jazz Club and produced the Tanglewood Jazz Festival from 2001 to 2007.
During a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts a school group was inappropriately treated in a blatantly racist manner. That has caught the museum, and its director Matthew Teitelbaum, in the cross hairs of media whiplash. There is a shameful legacy of racism and anti Semitism at the MFA. It will take decades to make appropriate changes.
Senior Editor and Art Critic for The Cambridge Phoenix
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2019
Jean Bergantini Grillo was hired as a senior editor and columnist when The Cambridge Phoenix was launched by Jeffrey Tarter on October 9, 1969. She worked with renowned editor Harper Barnes trying to bring shape and coherence to a staff of hippie writers. Today she is writing a play about that era and its macho newsroom. She was one of three women on staff and knew how to use her elbows. She later wrote for The Village Voice, an experience described as chaotic, but loved four years with the Daily News.
The vast archive of some 600,000 objects was a primary source for the Bill Lichtenstein film WBCN: The American Revolution. When in college David Bieber became a campus correspondent for Billboard Magazine. In graduate school at Boston University he wrote a thesis on the impact of WBCN and the growing counterculture media on changing the mainstream of Top 40 radio and the straight press. He became music director of WBUR and went on to work for WBCN and the Boston Phoenix. He provides an insightful overview of an era of social and poltical change for the vast college/ youth market in Boston.
Remembering Remains, Hallucinations, Springsteen, and JT
By: Charles Giuliano - Feb 05th, 2019
As a junior at Boston University, John Sdoucous, worked with George Wein promoting the Newport Jazz Festival launched in 1954. By 1968 he was booking Summerthing for the City of Boston. He got Janis Joplin on stage at Harvard Stadium in 1969 and launched Concerts on the Common in 1970. He continues to book concerts and festivals all over America. For Sdoucos it all started in Boston.
In 1970 I was hired to cover jazz and rock for the daily Boston Herald Traveler. To my dismay soon I was writing obituaries. It started with Al Wilson (July 4, 1943 – September 3, 1970) of the blues band Canned Heat. Then Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970). Not long after Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970). That was the class of 1970 with an average age of 27-28. A year later we lost Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971).
The Cabot in Beverly, Mass. is gearing up for its Centennial in 2020. It escaped the wrecker's ball a few years ago and is now in the midst of renovation, Toward that end there was a gala, all star benefit tribute to a 1920s icon Bessie Smith The Empress of the Blues. It was a night to remember and indicator of the next chapter of a venerable venue.
Rossini’s classic story of the oppressed woman who upends the patriarchal dowry system to pursue true love, is wonderfully invigorated by BLO’s selection and cast of critically acclaimed singers. This production launches the fall season of Boston Lyric Opera with stunning panache.
Now 89, legendary Boston jazz impresario , Fred Taylor, is busy booking one nighters for the Cabot Theatre in Beverly, Mass. Asked if it is time to retire he replied with the title of his memoir "What and Quit Show Biz." It's a work in progress with Dick Vacca. They hope to publish the book in spring, 2019. With typical wit and insight it recaps a career booking clubs like Jazz Workshop/ Paul's Mall, and Sculler's. He founded the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and produced concerts at Symphony Hall and other venues.
Objects of Use and Beauty in Japanese Culinary Tools
By: Mark Favermann - Jun 20th, 2018
The Fuller Craft Museum is one the few specifically craft museums in the United States. Ranging from the traditional to the high tech, its appealing and thoughtful current exhibit showcases a wonderful assemblage of diverse Japanese utensils and accessories used in domestic as well as professional kitchens.
Until recently the Museum of Fine Arts has neglected artists of Jewish heritage known as The Boston Expressionists. There were a handful of works that were burried in storage. Major works by Hyman Bloom and Karl Zerbe were included in a gift from Saundra B. Lane and William H. Lane. The museum is planning a major exhibition and catalogue for Bloom. It is likely that there will be other projects and publications. There are no current plans for showing or collecting works by Zerbe and Jack Levine.
Presided Over Once Formidable Phoenix Media Empire
By: Charles Giuliano - May 25th, 2018
While he lacked stature, Stephen Mindich, who died this week at 74, cast a giant shadow. As a hip capitalist at the height of his power he was an ersatz Citizen Kane of Boston's counter culture industry of print and broadcasting media. In 2013, his Phoenix empire exhinguished never again to take flight from the embers of fame and fortune.
The critical success of "Astral Weeks" by Ryan Walsh has brought national media attention to Boston's counter culture in 1968. Following a prior interview with former Cambridge Phoenix editor, Harper Barnes, we pick up on the other side of the Charles River with former Boston After Dark Editor, Arnie Reisman. This continues our coverage of arts and media during a golden age from 1969 to the demise of The Real Paper in 1981.
New Journalism in Boston/ Cambridge in the Early 1970s
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 14th, 2018
The recently published book Astral Weeks, by Ryan Walsh, has brought national attention to the counter culture of Boston/ Cambridge in 1968. This extensive interview with Harper Barnes, former editor of the Cambridge Phoenix and columnist for The Real Paper, covers developments in the early 1970s. It was a fertile era that launched careers of numerous arts critics and political commentators. After a stint in Boston, eventually, he returned to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and the city where he continues to reside.
Ryan H. Walsh’s Landmark Study of the Counter Culture in Boston
By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 12th, 2018
For most of 1968 the then struggling Irish musician and composer, Van Morrison, was on the run from his mobbed up New York manager. Living on Green Street in Cambridge, with local musicians he performed gigs and worked on what became the iconic album Astral Weeks. This is the focus of an enthralling book by Ryan Walsh fleshed out in the context of a meticulously researched account of the vibrant counter culture of that year of living dangerously. Through what evolves as a page turner we learn about Mel Lyman and his Fort Hill Cult, their paper Avatar, founding of WBCN FM as the rock of Boston, the Boston Tea Party, the Bosstown Sound, and Boston After Dark/ Phoenix. Along the way we encounter films, The Boston Strangler and Titicut Follies,as well as LSD gurus Tim Leary and Baba Ram Dass. Long overdue this fiftieth anniversary book sets the record straight.
Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" is a bizarre hybrid, an opera-oratorio set to a text by Jean Cocteau. Emmanuel Music paired it with two works about Orpheus, another denizen of the land of the Green myths. In their works, both Matthew Aucoin and John Harrison, composers with local connections, showed their debt to Stravinsky.
International companies will travel to Becket, Massachusetts, from Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Australia, France, Spain, and Scotland. Notably, representation from across the United States ranges from New York City, Minneapolis, and Houston to Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago, among others.
“This is a classic case of confronting a well-organized, well-financed, misguided inside group, hoping to lead them to their better angels,” said Leslie Ferrin, founder of Save the Art. “That’s why we’re crowd-sourcing Save the Art’s legal action fund. We want to invite people to step up at whatever level they can, and say, “we support finding a better solution.”