march, 2020

28mar5:30 pm7:30 pmEvent CancelledArtist Talk: Parks and the CityNavidreza Haghighi Mood, David Friedman, Jacob Geiger, Jennifer MawsonFPAC Gallery

Time

(Saturday) 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Location

FPAC Gallery

300 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

Event Details

Parks and the City: Conflict and Change

Artists: David Friedman, Jacob Geiger, Jennifer Mawson, Navidreza Haghighi Mood

The Fort Point Arts Community Gallery is pleased to announce “Parks and the City,” the first show of the 2020 season juried by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art at Dartmouth University’s Hood Museum of Art. The four photographers in “Parks and the City”—David Friedman, Jacob Geiger, Jennifer Mawson, and Navidreza Haghighi Mood—examine the internal conflicts within the ideology of urban parks. They look beyond the celebrated landscape design and recreational program of the founders to the physical and experiential edges of the parks. Dark moments and tall weeds make visible the unstable character of nature in this artificial setting.

 

The photographers give their separate interpretations of the urban park as a site of conflict and change. They look afresh at one of the city’s greatest resources, challenging the idea of natural beauty and the ability of landscape design to establish a permanent meaning for the parks.

 

“Focusing on city parks, this exhibition will examine notions of public and private, ‘neutral’ and politicized space, and the complexities of controlling nature,” says Hong in making her selections for the season. “Though most urban dwellers experience the park in its finished form, these natural environments are highly planned and mediated spaces. Furthermore, as the landscape of Boston is developing rapidly, it is important to think about what this kind of urban design or sanitizing of the landscape is doing to the city, how it can erase the complicated, colonial histories of the Boston area, and, along with the past, how it affects the present and future.”

 

On Saturday, March 28, at 5:30, the artists will speak about the general context of their photographic project within the history of urban landscape photography, followed by presentations of their work by each of the artists. 

 

Each of the photographers in “Parks and the City” takes a different approach to the general theme of parks; in combination, the four artists offer a contemporary look at the city’s century-old resource with their interpretations of the urban park as a site of conflict and change. Looking afresh at one of the city’s greatest resources, they challenge the idea of natural beauty and the ability of landscape design to establish a permanent meaning for parks. 

 

David Friedman sees the landscapes of human habitation as necessarily fragmented—a leafy residential neighborhood down the road from a heavily electrified strip mall, a concrete airfield next to a tidal marsh—so it is no surprise that urban parks also lack the organic continuity of “undisturbed” nature. Land was taken for the parks where it was available and adapted to the uses of an urban population, often with considerable violence to its former state. In that process, some areas proved less tractable than others and these spaces were often left outside the itineraries planned for good citizens seeking the refreshment of easily accessible nature. Unimproved and untended, these spaces provide the setting for the unauthorized activities whose traces are the subject of these photographs.

 

Jacob Geiger is interested in parks because in them attempts at control are incompletely fulfilled. For all the plannerly concerns of landscape architects, parks contain the traces of what came before and what will come after. In these spaces, he sees narrow designs upon the land overcome by a cacophony of living beings vying for space and control. If fields promise leisure, so do they also threaten isolation and danger, especially in darkness, and from behind the veils of overgrowth at their margins. If we would use parks to reclaim undevelopable or disused sites for play, Geiger suggests, so do the brambles and vines reclaim the trails and fields for their own ends.

 

Navidreza Haghighi Mood, in photographs of Mashad, Iran, observes that Iranians’ bond with nature has long been rooted deep in their history, culture, and climate. In the mid-1960s Mellat Park (the park of the nation) debuted in Mashad as a holiday resort in the countryside, with a design inspired by the British style of parks. As the city has grown rapidly since then, this huge, flat garden, once in the suburbs, is now located in the center of a metropolis of three million people. Moreover, its function has changed from a natural holiday resort to a place that warmly welcomes visitors with new and complex expectations. In the last decades of the twentieth century, Mashad’s rising high crime rate combined with an obsolete design to turn Mellat Park into an environment full of fear and conflict, struggling to balance accessibility and safety. 

 

Jennifer Mawson centers her practice around the wonder and peculiarity found in the everyday. Recently, she has been exploring Franklin Park, photographically investigating how time impacts the terrain—throughout the day and over the years. She compares her memories as a child—spending hours in similar spaces creating worlds, climbing trees, racing down slides and running home before darkness fell—to her somewhat sinister experiences as an adult of encountering figures hiding in the darkness of a faulty street light or noises coming from the trees in between shutter clicks while photographing at night. She is interested in how these spaces can change so quickly when there are more shadows than light.

 

“Parks and the City” is open to the public 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday to Friday and by appointment. The opening reception is Thursday, March 5, 2020, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The Artist Talk takes place Saturday, March 28, 2020, 5:30 pm

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

David Friedman 

David Friedman is emeritus professor in the history section of the architecture department at MIT. He is an art historian who writes about medieval and Renaissance architecture and urban design and also about the history of mapping in the Renaissance. His publications include the book Florentine New Towns, which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock book award of the Society of Architectural Historians. He has been a fellow of the Villa i Tatti in Florence, the American Academy in Rome, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is also co-curator of the Museo delle Terre Nuove in San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy. He began to study photography seriously in 2016 at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design from which he received a post-baccalaureate certificate in 2019.

 

Jacob Geiger www.jacobgeiger.com

Jacob Geiger is a first-year MFA student in photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, he received a BS in computer science and mathematics from Yale University, where he was a photography editor of the student newspaper. Before coming to Boston, Jacob lived in San Francisco, California, and made The Borrow Pit, a book of photographs dealing with light and darkness within the smoke of wildfires.

 

Jen Mawson 

Jen Mawson is a photographer based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Her practice is centered around the wonder and peculiarity found in the everyday. Recently, she has been exploring Franklin Park, photographically investigating how the terrain is impacted by time—throughout the day and over the years. She compares her memories as a child spending hours in similar spaces creating worlds, climbing trees, racing down slides, and running home before darkness fell, to the somewhat sinister experiences she has had as an adult of encountering figures hiding in the darkness of a faulty street light or noises coming from the trees in between shutter clicks while photographing at night. She is interested in how these spaces can change so quickly when there are more shadows than light.

 

Navidreza Haghighi Mood (Navid) www.navidmood.com 

Navid is an artist and educator currently based in Boston. He holds an MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He was a multiyear recipient of Dean’s scholarship and teaching fellowships from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and as a Teaching Artist at Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston. Navid received a grant from the Massachusetts Service Alliance to serve with MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships to nurture relationships by partnering with communities within and beyond. Navid has exhibited his works at numerous galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, including FOTOHOF Gallery, Salzburg, Austria; Photographic Resource Center, Boston, Mass.; Attleboro Art Museum, Mass.; and Raskolnikov Gallery, Germany. He works mostly with photography, video, and use immersive installation to experiment with the ideas of past and present identities, loss and disappearance, solitude and connection.

 

About the Juror

About Jessica Hong, Juror, FPAC Gallery 2020 Season

Jessica Hong is Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art at Dartmouth University’s Hood Museum of Art. Before joining the Hood’s team as the first curator of global contemporary art, Hong was assistant curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, where she organized exhibitions including Arthur Jafa: Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death (2018) and the ICA’s presentation of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 (2018). Prior to the ICA, Hood was part of the inaugural team of the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art that launched the renovated Harvard Art Museums by architect Renzo Piano. 

 

Previously based in New York, Hong has held curatorial positions at Independent Curators International (ICI), SculptureCenter, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has written editorial pieces for BOMB Magazine, ICA/Boston, and SculptureCenter publications, among others. Additionally, she served as ICI’s external evaluator for all curatorial programs, as visiting critic for Residency Unlimited (NY), and as a juror on numerous panels and fellowship programs. Hong received her M.A. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and B.A. in art history from Barnard College, Columbia University.
photo of Jessica Hong by Alison Palizzolo

 

About the Fort Point Arts Community Gallery
www.fortpointarts.org, gallery@fortpointarts.org 

The FPAC Gallery is fully programmed and staffed by a volunteer Gallery Committee of the Fort Point Arts Community, Inc. of South Boston (FPAC), a nonprofit community organization founded in 1980. The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) builds cultural vibrancy in Boston by cultivating an empowered community of artists, organizations, and supporters. FPAC promotes the work of our artists to a broad and diverse audience, advocates for art opportunities, develops permanent, affordable live-work studio space and ensures that art is an essential part of the life of a creative city.

Image: “Three Moons,” by Jennifer Mawson, photography-archival pigment print 2019

Organizer

FPACE: info@fortpointarts.org | T: 617-423-4299 70 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

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