Thursday, June 26, 2008

It’s not just the number of galleries closing

but which galleries are closing.

Matt Nash is right when he writes that the Boston galleries shakeup is part of the usual churn of any art scene, but what he keeps missing is that these aren’t just any galleries that are closing (or significantly cutting back). The loss of galleries like Allston Skirt, Bernie Toale, Space Other, Rhys, Judy Ann Goldman and (the fledgling) Julie Chae is a major blow to the scene. (Even if some of them say they are only going on hiatus.)

At issue is how much the Boston galley scene will be engaged with the question of where art is going, rather than where art has been. The absence of these galleries significantly reduces the amount and quality of artwork by living (and often local) artists that will be seen here. Visits to the South End just got a lot less interesting.

Though some existing galleries are stepping up – Steven Zevitas moving to larger more visible space, GASP expanding – and a few new galleries are joining the mix, their numbers don’t balance out with the losses. And it's not at all clear yet that the quality of their exhibitions can offset the lost programming.


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