A Big Wow, Downtown

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Q: What’s pink and yellow and big in downtown Boston?

A: A larger-than-life public art installation: one part scary monster, one part clashing pajamas and two parts fantastic!

The Os Gemeos Mural Project, brought to us by the ICA et al, has painted Boston’s cheeks rosy-red. This one piece of art instantly calls attention to how otherwise neutral our built environment is. It sticks out worse than a sore thumb among the steel, stone and glass; and yet, now that my initial shock has eased, this fluorescent-plaid clad, suspiciously crouched figure with beady eyes has found a way to belong.

Nobody who’s entered Dewey Square since August has escaped without the question, “Whoa! Do I like what I’m seeing?” popping into his/her head. I ask, Isn’t that just what Art is supposed to do?  To beckon a response; Invite us to see the world differently, even only for a fleeting moment, a glimpse. Whether you like it or hate it, the mural by the twin Brazilian artists, Gustavo and Otavio Pandulfo probably has given you a lil’ shake and spark as you walked along Atlantic Ave. I confess: It’s finally won me over after seven months of qualms.

This bold mural fits in with exactly what Common Boston celebrates: experience of the City, exciting discovery, and challenging diversity. In our sixth year, the Common Boston Festival will explore elements of “The Vital Street”, elements like Public Art. Together we will attempt to define the critical and precious ingredients that make our built environment livable, sustainable, equitable, beautiful, and even thrilling.

We’ll all learn to answer: “What gives Boston a pulse?”

Posted on February 15, 2013 .