DOUG BOSCH THROWS US A CURVE
by James Foritano
Catenaries have been around long before Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defined them as “The curve formed by a perfectly flexible inextensible cord of uniform density and cross-section hanging freely from two fixed points.” Catenaries existed even before Galileo misidentified a catenary as a parabola and was then berated by his contemporaries with mathematical formulae that proved the famous astronomer so very wrong.
The Spanish architect Gaudí used catenary curves, reversed, as arches in a much-photographed corridor of his Casa Milá in Barcelona. Going Gaudí one better, Eero Saarinen used a reversed catenary to frame the view westward from downtown St. Louis, and for good measure he installed tramcars inside so tourists could ride to the top of his “Gateway Arch” and attempt a glimpse of California.
The cables of transmission towers, suspension bridges and, closer to home, the ropes of clotheslines form other working catenaries. And yet, no one has ever asked catenaries what they want, until Doug Bosch installed his troupe of acrobats inside the modest dimensions of Lesley University’s VanDernoot Gallery, located just inside Porter Square’s re-purposed Sears Building. So humble a place; so startling a revelation.
Turns out that catenaries themselves possess a talent for drama zest, a verve that makes dictionary definitions look frozen, mathematical equations finicky and a catenary with a tramcar inside and windows with views cheaply sensational.