It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . some dude in tights wielding a paintbrush?
Irritated by the widespread assumption that “serious” art emerges only from culturally significant cities such as New York or London, Boston–based sculptor Brian Burkhardt and photographer Tanit Sakakini decided to launch an ad campaign designed to show the world what the Boston art scene is made of.
Apparently, it’s made of sparkly tights and body paint.
On Saturday, August 11, approximately 20 local artists gathered at a warehouse space on Dry Dock Avenue to be transformed into superhero supermodels and pose for a group photo that will serve as a signature piece for the campaign.
“As artists, we’re always asked when we’re moving to New York,” says Burkhardt, “but there is more than one Gotham City! There are superheroes everywhere.”
Boston is generally regarded as a stepping stone within the local arts and performance communities. Actors, comedians, musicians, studio artists, and writers hone their skills here, then take off for the soulless talent vacuums of bigger, faster cities. Burkhardt and Sakakini are adamant about keeping the art community in Boston energized so that people don’t want to pack up their palettes and leave once they’ve experienced a modicum of success.
While a meeting of Batman, Catwoman, the Flash, Zorro, the Mighty Thor, She-Hulk, and an awesomely iridescent roller-disco superheroine named the Dazzler may make for one hell of a Fight Club, the artists are hoping their photo campaign will be more than just a novelty and pretty pictures.
“We don’t want to be labeled as ‘Boston artists,’ but as international artists who happen to reside here,” says Burkhardt, nestled in a wheelchair as Professor X. “We choose to stay here in Boston.”
Then, on cue, the heroes pulled on their masks, stubbed out their cigarettes, and set off on their mission to conquer for the art world, one city at a time.