Curating
FAMILIAR FEELINGS
SOBRE EL GRUPO DE BOSTON

Desde mediados de los años 70, una serie de artistas de la Costa Este norteamericana comenzaron a desafiar las convenciones del medio fotográfico desde sus aspectos técnicos y morales con una influencia enorme en los usos de la representación de finales del siglo XX. La defensa de la veracidad se manifestaba a través de un grado desconocido de intimidad expuesta, al mostrar modos de vida no legitimados por el conjunto social, como personajes de la noche, vidas marginales, adicciones, afectos, experiencias sexuales y con el género o la irrupción de nuevos modelos de articulación social. Su aportación fundamental consiste en convertir en narrativas atractivas motivos cotidianos que hasta aquel momento nunca se habían considerado de interés como asunto de una pieza de arte.

A lo largo de los años 90, este grupo fue rebautizado como "Boston School" a partir de una broma de la artista Nan Goldin que luego sería popularizada por la exposición del mismo título en el ICA de Boston en 1996. El hecho es que en un momento concreto de mediados de los 70 en Nueva Inglaterra se concentraron una serie de artistas que a lo largo de la década de los 80 se convertirían en algunos de los nombres fundamentales en la cultura artística de su país. Relacionados a partir de afinidades personales y por compartir sus estudios en la School of the Museum of Fine Arts o en la Massachusetts College of Art, ambas en Boston, fueron trasladándose progresivamente a Nueva York para participar activamente en la construcción de la escena del Bowery, durante una etapa fundamental para el desenvolvimiento y consolidación de las estructuras artísticas de la ciudad: junto a galeristas que se trasladaron con ellos, pertenecen a la generación que fabricó el mundo del arte neoyorkino en torno a la Whitney Biennial, el mercado galerístico, los estudios del SoHo y la movida del East Village. Precisamente, Pat Hearn, artista y modelo presente en diversas obras en la muestra abría una influyente galería en Manhattan en 1983 y luego sería una de las fundadoras del Armory Show.

In the mid-seventies a group of artists from the East Coast of America began to challenge the conventions of the photographic medium starting from its technical and moral aspects, which had enjoyed a great influence in the uses of representation in the late twentieth century. The defence of truth was expressed by an unknown degree of exposed intimacy, which revealed socially non-legitimized ways of life, such as night-time characters, marginal lives, addictions, affections, sexual and gender experiences or irruption of the emergence of new models of social articulation. Its fundamental contribution consists in turning uneventful motives, which were previously not regarded as subject matters in works of art, into interesting narratives.

In the course of the nineties this group was renamed 'the Boston School' after a pun by artist Nan Goldin, which would later become popular after exhibition of the same title held at the Boston ICA in 1996. The fact is that at some point in the mid-seventies a group of artists gathered in New England who would later become some of the fundamental figures of the US art scene. Bound by their personal affinities, these students of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art, both in Boston, gradually moved to New York where they contributed, along with some gallery owners who had moved with them, to the emergence of the Bowery scene during an essential phase for the development and consolidation of the city's artistic structures. Pat Hearn, artist and model featured in several pieces of the exhibition, opened an influential gallery in Manhattan in 1983 and later became one of the founding figures of the Armory Show.

From a sociological point of view, the more than 150 pieces and documents on display, link to the upsurge of the punk movement in the United States, turns these images into the portrait of a precise and essential moment in time: the last breath of moral and sexual freedom born in the sixties, just befote the crisis brought on by the appearance of AIDS and the culture wars. On the other hand, the vindication of subjectivity pervading their work, became one of the main axes of the international artistic production of the nineties.

In short, rather than attempting to confirm the affinities of the so-called Boston School, «Familiar Feelings» aims at identifying new forms of emotional kinship and alternative personal attitudes. Rather than a collective exhibition it is a sum of several individual exhibitions, hence allowing for the full comprehension of each artist. This method will enable the public to assume the bond of familiarity as a slight at yet at once more welcoming category, one that transcends the traditional lables of art history to assert other possible and still productive modes of subjectivism.

Featured artists: Diane Arbus, David Armstrong, Larry Clark, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Mark Morrisroe, Jack Pierson, Tabboo!, Gail Thacker, Shellburne Thurber, Starn Twins and Kathleen White.





















— Archivo fotográfico CGAC, Santiago de Compostela. Photographs: Mark Ritchie —




— Photograph: Tamara de la Fuente —

 

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CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, 23.09.2009-03.01.2010.
 
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