Howard Art Project | 1486 Dorchester Avenue

February 28th 2014-March 21st

Email to arrange a visit: [email protected]


We could just say “Okay! You’re right!

Art is bad, silly and frivolous.

So what?

Rock-and-Roll is bad, silly and frivolous.

Movies are bad, silly and frivolous.

Basketball is bad, silly and frivolous. Next question?”

This excerpt sums up one of several themes in an essay by art-critic-bad-boy Dave Hickey called FRIVOLITY AND UNCTION (1997). These days, it is a match used to spark controversy and discussion among students in art schools. It cajoles and offends (sort of like a Libertarian) and contemplating it forces you to think about what your own opinions are on the subject of Art in a societal context.

Taking this essay as a ‘Meditation’, a group of young local artists have banded together to throw a punky show of their works over at HOWARD ART PROJECT in Dorchester.


You’ll need some gumption to see RECTO AND VERSO. Email and arrange to visit, and then: take the Red Line to Fields Corner station, march across Dot Ave, yank on the green mesh door and head up the stairs to meet one of the 8 artists who’ll open up the show for you. This, by the way, is exactly what Dave Hickey would have wanted. Your investment in time and effort is part of the currency that underlies the real meritocracy that he wants the Art-world to use.

There are handouts in the entryway which catalog the works in each room and who made each. It lists your clues for sorting out which name belongs to which piece as well as pointing out a path to interpretation in some cases. At a museum or gallery, it’s easy to be a spectator touring around. Here, however, you might be the only person in the room besides the artist who travelled there to let you in. You’ll be inclined, by politeness if not outright curiousity, to ask questions. That’s good. The works on display here, while possibly frivolous, were not created thoughtlessly but with storytelling and playfulness in mind. It can be a bit of a puzzle sorting out interactions within and between pieces.

The 8 artists who collaborate here (Charlie Crowell, Garrett Gould, Duy Hoang, Gordon Holden, Grace Jackson, Tyler Murphy, Alicia Riccio, and Sena Wataya) have all met and discussed their work with each other in order to be conversant about the entire show, so feel free to engage them. An element that makes this show interesting is that the artists are keen to see what unexpected takes folks have on interpretation. There’s some kindhearted deception in play with some pieces, and even numerous off-menu items. See how many you can spot.

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