The Trustees’ Public Art Initiative
by Meredith Cutler
World’s End … The Old Manse … names that ring of landmarks on a fictional map. Look at a map of Massachusetts, and you’ll discover that these are very real destinations. Located in seaside Hingham and historic Concord, respectively, World’s End and The Old Manse are just two of 116 properties managed by the not-for-profit conservation and preservation group, The Trustees of Reservations.
In celebration of 125 years of land conservancy and historical site stewardship, The Trustees have launched a two-year public art initiative titled “Art and the Landscape.” The project is curated by Boston-based independent curator Pedro Alonzo in the “museum of the Massachusetts landscape — wild nature herself,” as described by Trustees President and CEO Barbara Erickson at a launch event and public art forum held in early June.
Best known for curatorial projects involving street artists and the urban landscape, Alonzo’s public art sensations in the Commonwealth include French artist JR’s 86-foot high, black and white image of man on a dock pasted on the windows of the iconic former Hancock Tower (200 Clarendon Street) in Back Bay; and Brazilian duo Os Gêmeos’ controversial mural of a cartoonish, hooded figure in Dewey Square (created in conjunction with their 2012 exhibition at Boston’s ICA where Alonzo was adjunct curator from 2011-2013).
“I’ve had access to walls, buildings, maximum security prisons … but not the landscape,” said Alonzo of this sea change from urban to “beyond” suburban sites. “I thank the Trustees for taking that risk.”