WEN-HAO TIEN: WEED OUT
NEW ART CENTER IN NEWTON
61 WASHINGTON PARK, NEWTONVILLE, MA
SEPTEMBER 22 THROUGH OCTOBER 19
by James Foritano
Soon after Labor Day, common weeds will be carted to the New Art Center in Newton to be sculpted into an island in the center of its spacious Holzwasser Gallery. When the full spectrum lights are thrown on for the month-long exhibit’s September 22 opening — the brain-child of installation artist Wen-hao Tien — the culmination of the artist’s vision will shine in all its various weedy hues, forms and heights. And then begin to shift and shake — but more of that later.
Right now, I want to question my use of the word “brainchild” — easy but not felicitous. Although Tien has led a decades-long career as an academic in Asian and international studies, first at Harvard University and recently at Boston University, her guts, her passion and her sensibility have been for hire at least as much as her brain — that late, seemingly after-thought addition to mankind’s short, short evolutionary history on our old Earth.
After all, would anyone in their “right mind” use up precious hours of a busy life leading a four-wheeled “buggy” up and around the highways and byways of a diverse Cambridge neighborhood bordering the high-tech environs of MIT’s Kendall Square?