I will survive

John Osorio-Buck in Lawrence, street art in Central Square, and Corita Kent’s Rainbow Gas Tank
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  October 16, 2007
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John Osorio-Buck, U7H21

“There is no such thing in civilized society as self-support,” claims a handwritten, hand-held, Dylan-esque cardboard sign on artist John Osorio-Buck’s Web site, the top-most in a seven-frame series of images that spell out a quote from Massachusetts socialist Edward Bellamy’s famous utopian novel Looking Backward (1887). Osorio-Buck has expressed his interest in utopian ideas and contemporary survival in a variety of art projects over the past three years. In January 2006, he experimented in surviving a Boston winter in his van. In October 2005, as a resident of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, he built a house out of bales of hay and lived in it for a month.

In “U7H36: NEW WORK BY JOHN OSORIO-BUCK,” which opens at the Essex Art Center on October 26, the artist aims to develop a series of shelter units incorporating survival systems, among them practical hydroponics for growing vegetables in a situation where traditional gardening might not be possible. In case you were wondering, “U7” stands for Utopia 7, “H” for Hydroponics, and “36” for Beethoven’s Second Symphony (Opus 36). That should make it all clear.

“U7H36: New Work by John Osorio-Buck” at Essex Art Center, 56 Island St, Lawrence | October 26–December 7 | 978.685.2343 | “The Wall at Central Square” at alley next to Central Kitchen, 567 Mass Ave, Cambridge | October 22-28 | Panel Discussion on Corita Kent’s Rainbow Gas Tank at Savin Hill Yacht Club, 400 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston | October 27 at 7 pm | 617.839.6734
An unusual venue in Central Square plays host to an unusual project organized by local artist and enthusiastic art promoter Geoff Hargadon this month, as a wall in the alley next to Central Kitchen restaurant is transformed into a “canvas” for more than a dozen active street artists from all over the country (okay, mostly from around New York, Boston, and Fall River). Bold imagery by NYC’s ubiquitous Michael DeFeo is joined by lively efforts from Rene Gagnon, Judith Supine, the artist known as 5003, and Hiroko Kikuchi, among others. Hargadon chose to put this great work right out on the street instead of trying to re-create it in a gallery, in order to “keep it true to form.” The artists will be on site installing “THE WALL AT CENTRAL SQUARE” during the week of October 22, with the intention of finishing up by October 28. The splashy results (opposite a mural of city characters and scenes that’s been on view in the alley for years) will remain up . . . till they’re vandalized or simply fade away.

Dorchester’s art community throws open its doors for the sixth annual Dorchester Open Studios October 27 and 28, with a kickoff reception at Ahimsa Gallery (11 Pearl Street, Savin Hill) October 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. A highlight of the weekend’s events is the panel discussion on “THE ART OF CORITA KENT AND THE HISTORY OF THE RAINBOW GAS TANK” at the Savin Hill Yacht Club on October 27 at 7 pm. Panelists include Alexandra Carrera, from the Corita Art Center in LA, and Mickey Myers, associate producer of Primary Colors: The Story of Corita (which is being screened at the Lower Mills Branch of the Boston Public Library in Dorchester October 22-24) and a long-time friend of Corita Kent.

On the Web
Essex Art Center: www.essexartcenter.com
Details on related Cantral Square programming: www.enormous.tv
Dorchester Arts Collaborative: www.thedeac.org

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