Newbury Street warms up with summer exhibitions

Newbury Street warms up with summer exhibitions

By Bobby Feingold

From shiny modern sculptures to traditional oil paintings, summer is a time for students to enjoy Boston’s art scene while avoiding the hustle that is associated with the city’s colder seasons.

During the summer months about 40 art galleries on Newbury Street aim to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

“It’s romantic for young people to come and appreciate art,” said Zola Solamente, director of Arden Gallery. “It’s air-conditioned, free, and there’s beautiful works of art.”

Solamente said her gallery, located at 129 Newbury St., features “nationally-recognized mid-career artists,” but is “non-aggressive,” so students can get familiar with art without pressure to buy. Beginning in July, Arden Gallery will exhibit artist Tom Seghi, noted for his hyper-realistic acrylic paintings of pears in vibrant reds, yellows and greens.

Currently on display at Childs Gallery, located at 169 Newbury St., is “Streams to the River, River to the Seas.” The show offers relaxing seascapes perfect for laid-back tourists and students. With more than 40,000 mid-century paintings and sculptures in the gallery’s standing inventory, Childs Gallery rotates the pieces on display every six weeks.

“You are supposed to revere high art at museums,” said sales executive Diana Limbach, who began collecting prints when she was 23 years old. “But at galleries, it’s art to live with. You can take it out of the frame, take a magnifying glass to it and touch it. It’s a whole education not available at museums.”

Limbach said she thinks many students could be turned on to the “affordable, accessible, transportable” prints.

“The whole point of art is learning,” she said. “It’s not as intimidating as people think. You don’t have to know anything about art. You can just know what you like and what you don’t like and form your opinion.”

Gallery-goers can find modern works at the friendly and progressive ACME Gallery, at 38 Newbury St. With paintings hung “salon-style,” meaning pieces fill up optimal space, the “Summer Salon” exhibition features New England-based modernism from 1910 to 1990.

Cowan said he sees about four students a day, though often with the aid of an art teacher who can “help students get works that are [hard to get their minds] around.”

“Students are obsessed with how much things cost,” said ACME Gallery Director David Cowan.

The colorful, abstract work includes Myron Stout’s “Untitled #2” circa 1947. The bold painting with frenetic lines is one of only 30 oil paintings Stout created in his career.

With its formal setting and classical music, the Guild of Boston Artists has a more traditional aesthetic. Currently showing landscape and still-life portraits by New England artists, the gallery, located at 162 Newbury St., offers a Young Collector’s Club for students who want to begin purchasing but don’t know how to negotiate what to invest in a piece. This gallery features David H. Lowry’s “If,” a haunting oil painting exploring the artist’s fascination with the Wizard of Oz’s connection to the Bible’s Book of Job.

Northeastern student Arria Swaine, a Guild of Boston Artists gallery intern, said more students have come to the gallery in the recent weeks.

“It’s a great way to get away from the rushing and the heat,” said Swaine, a junior anthropology and international affairs major. “The atmosphere of galleries is a different pace, more peaceful and settled.”

Betty Bothereow, owner of L’Attitude, said three-dimensional art is underrepresented in collections and in the public perspectives. Located at 218 Newbury St., the gallery’s current exhibitions, “In the Garden” and “A Colorful Perspective,” features glass and outdoor sculptures.

Students are less intimidated than adults, who usually follow protocol, she said.

“Expose yourself to art,” Bothereow said. “Come for motivation, inspiration [and] air-conditioning.”

The Nielsen Gallery, located at 179 Newbury St., displays Sam Messer’s sculpture, “The Evolution of Desire.” The sculpture depicts a giant monkey on its knees praying with its hands up and an erect penis. Upstairs is the Victoria Munroe Gallery, which has serial imagery of diner glasses and decorative jewelry monoliths.

The International Poster Gallery, at 205 Newbury St., has vintage, original posters that are very collectable. From framed magazine covers to avant-garde large-scale prints, the posters offer a wide variety of subjects.

Senior international business major Oliver John Rivera, who prefers late impressionist art more than modern art, said galleries offer an interesting past-time but won’t bring students in during the summer.

“Exhibitions seem abandoned by students that don’t study art,” he said. “It’s a cool thing, but people don’t care much about it and know about it. Galleries need more promotion.”

Eleanor Wu, a senior biology major, said she has passed the galleries many times but never went in.

“I’m interested in art, but not in galleries. I’d rather go to the Museum of Fine Arts for famous painters from around the world,” she said.

Meryem Bouayard, a communications studies graduate student, said art galleries offer perfect entertainment for the summer.

“Seeing art is interesting in getting to know how other people view the world,” he said. “It’s entertaining to guess the message they are sending from their art.”

Leave a Reply