Artist Janet Zweig to create interactive public sculpture – Beacon Hill Times


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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Friends of the Public Garden in Boston, acclaimed public artist Janet Zweig will unveil a large participatory public sculpture – a double-sided wood cabinet handcrafted with removable light markers that invite discussion of the property of ‘an installation titled “What do we have in common?” From September 22 on Boston Common.

The Boston Common is a powerful backdrop for this experience. Before the arrival of Europeans, the land that became the commune was occupied by the Massachusetts tribe who considered all land to be held in common. As the first public park in the United States, it has 387 years of history. He witnessed executions, sermons, demonstrations and celebrations. It has hosted famous visitors and daily gatherings of friends and family. The first townspeople grazed their cows and beat their carpets on the town. The arrival of Boston’s public water supply system in 1848 was heralded with a water celebration at Common’s Frog Pond attended by thousands of people. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from the Parkman Bandstand on April 23, 1965, after a mile-and-a-half-mile freedom march through the streets of Boston. On October 1, 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated the First Papal Mass in North America in front of 400,000 people.

“What do we have in common? Is curated by Now + There, a nonprofit public art organization that brings temporary and site-specific artwork to all neighborhoods in Boston, and the installation will also be part of the performance. Boston-based guides will pull blue lighted markers out of the cabinet every day and engage in conversation with passers-by around questions printed on the markers such as, “Who owns the moon?” “Who owns the shadows?” and “Who owns the happiness?” “Who owns the trees? At night, the cabinet and the markers will light up, illuminating the park as a reminder of the care necessary to protect the beauty and dynamism of the public spaces we have in common. “What do we have in common? Will be visible for 30 days.

“What Janet Zweig brought to light so poetically was the core of this work as steward of common resources: bringing people together to care for something we all deeply value. Our partnership over the past 50 years has made us stronger and makes our parks better for future generations, ”said Liz Vizza, President of the Friends of the Public Garden.

The cabinet will also serve as a Donation Library for the public to pick up on the topic of shared resources. There will be fiction, poetry, children’s books and stories from Boston Common available to all and bookplates will be signed by Zweig. Reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the Common, 34 of the firm’s 200 markers will be in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean Creole. Many guides, who will spark conversations with the public, will identify themselves as Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

Now + There’s Executive Director Kate Gilbert adds, “Participatory public art enlivens spaces and galvanizes people. With Janet Zweig’s decades of history sparking contemplation through subtly whimsical approaches, as well as the 10 Boston-area citizens acting as the pulse of “What do we have in common?” We ask provocative questions that invite reflection and discussion of commonalities in a way that encourages everyone to participate in the development of alternative solutions. This is the power of public art.

For Zweig, who lived in Boston and Cambridge in the 1980s and now resides in New York City, this is his first public art commission in Boston. She has been working in the field of public art since the 1990s, constantly creating works that address environmental issues. His main projects include a kinetic installation on a pier along the Sacramento River, a performance space in a meadow on a green roof in downtown Kansas City, a wall of generative sentences in downtown Columbus, an installation light rail and memorial in Pittsburgh, an interactive system-wide project for eleven light rail stations in Minneapolis, and a 1200 ‘frieze at Prince Street subway in New York. While she has created public sculptures, interactive works and performances, “What do we have in common? »Seamlessly brings the three elements together for the first time.

“After a lot of research, I had more questions than answers about the idea of ​​commons,” Zweig said. “Correctors ask a lot of these questions. I hope the Guides, who have released the markers to the general public around the park during the month, will facilitate many questions, including one important to all of us: What do we have in common? »Visit for more

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