BOSTON, MASS. — Twentieth and Twenty-first Century art and design has become a fixture in Boston after six years of the AD 20/21 show at the Cyclorama building at the Boston Center for the Arts. This year’s event March 21–24, managed by Fusco and Four, attracted galleries from all over, and while the gate was relatively unchanged, sales were the most robust in six years.
The gala preview party, too, brought in some 650 people and took in $133,000 for the Boston Architectural College. A highlight was the presentation of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Boston collector and philanthropist John Axelrod. Museum curators and dealers, architects and artists were observed in the crowd.
Eminent New York silver dealer Robert Lloyd did his very best to bring visitors to AD 20/21. He has acquired a treasure trove archive of original artwork created beginning in the late 1920s to advertise Guinness breweries by London’s premier advertising agency, S.H. Benson’s. Lloyd also visited a number of Irish pubs in Boston, where he handed out tickets to AD 20/21. He also sponsored a highly successful Guinness tasting Friday night at AD 20/21. His efforts paid off. Clients came from all over to view and to purchase Guinness art… and a Jameson Irish Whiskey ad, a Milo Ray Baughman loveseat, a Native American pot and a folk art blue heron. Buyers also appreciated and purchased Lloyd’s silver.
Susanna J. Fichera, who deals from Arlington, Mass., and Bowdoinham, Maine, devoted part of her booth to Italian American artists. They included Florentine Rodolfo Marma’s 1957 “Pensiero a Firenze,” an evocative scene of daily life in Florence that he painted while living in New York, Aurelio Cordero’s “Abstraction No. 2,” an untitled work by Gino Emilio Conti and Pietro Consagra’s 1961 bronze “Sensa Titolo.” Fichera had two large works by Carlo Ciussi on view in other booths, “LXX-1973” and “LXX-1969,” one in the Boston Architectural College booth and the other along an end wall.
Boston’s Childs Gallery took a double booth at the front of the exhibition space that showcased the gallery’s more recent focus on work from the 1940s to the 1970s. Pieces by such artists as Sally Michel and Milton Avery, Anne Lyman Powers and Ture Bengtz were on view. There was also a compelling group of pavises by Anthony Moore. Boston artist Jason Berger’s local and European scenes captured attention and sales, as did a group of watercolors and gouaches by Ben Norris. “Pandemonium 2005” by Laurel Sparks drew many eyes as it comprised acrylic, marble dust and glitter on canvas. Childs also showed the sweetest-looking horse ever to enter the Cyclorama — the artist’s proof of “Horse with Thistle” by Osmeivy Ortega Pacheco.
Artwork offered by Boston’s Martha Richardson Fine Art attracted old and new clients alike. She showed Aiden Lassell Ripley’s watercolor “Waiting Gondola, Venice,” Agnes Weinrich’s “Dunes,” a dandy John Marin and a Harley Perkins abstraction. Pride of place went to Janet Scudder’s delicate-as-a-dragonfly bronze “Victory.”
Boston’s Machine Age brought a burl ash dining table by Vladimir Kagan, who was awarded the first AD 20/21 Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. A group of six serigraphs by 1979 by David Roth hung above a high-style Modernist white lacquer cabinet by Tommi Anton Parzinger. A 1965 Poul Kjaerholm wicker and stainless Hammock Chair for Fritz Hansen was much admired, as was a group of four metal sculptures by Sergei Gritsay, whose pieces exemplify the Machine Age.
Kevin Barrett’s aluminum piece “Queen of Hearts” was shown by Art Resource of Boston, along with “Blue is the New Gray” by Rachelle Kreiger and “Orange Pink” by Jane Parkes. “Yellow Bicycle” by Canadian artist Sean Downey was also for sale.
The Fuller Craft Museum of Brockton, Mass., was represented by art made from reclaimed objects. Leo Sewell’s “Seated Lady” sat opposite Boris Bally’s “Transit Chair” made from reclaimed highway signs.
Alumni of Boston’s North Bennet Street School staffed a special exhibition that highlighted John Herbert’s curly cherry, curly maple, copper leaf and brass tall clock with interior lighting and an eight-day movement. A table by Marty Mackenzie was also on view.
Beacon Hill gallery Sloane Merrill showed the arresting work of Italian artist Daniele Cestari, whose oil on linen cityscapes on view included “Red,” “In Viaggio a Notte,” “Chelsea Nighttime” and the impressive “While the City was Sleeping, I Woke Up.” Tonalist work by California artist Terry Miura was also exhibited.
Palette Contemporary Art & Craft of Albuquerque, N.M., brought along a selection of blown glass “Bambu” vases by Laura de Santillana, silk screened glass representations of vintage popular culture by Tamara Coatsworth and a pair of sandblasted glass vases by Steven E. Main and Karen Korobow-Main.
Adelson Galleries was founded in 1964 in Boston by Warren Adelson. It later moved to New York and a branch was opened by Boston last fall by Adelson’s son, Adam Adelson. The gallery showed appealing depictions of interior life by Andrew Stevovich: “Chocolate Truffle,” “Loretta Sleeping” and “Woman with Camcorder.” A selection of work by Winfred Rembert offered vital depictions of African American daily life: “Picking Cotton with Boss Men,” “In the Ditch,” “Buck Ross’ Whiskey Still” and “Loading Cotton.” An aluminum, stainless steel, cast bronze and glass fountain pen, nearly as tall as a man, by Tristan Govignon took up an exterior corner of the booth.
From Toulouse, France, 31 Galerie specializes in photographs of the word “hotel.” The pictures consistently attract an eclectic audience and bring solid sales.
Garvey Rita Art and Antiques of West Hartford, Conn., enjoyed a profitable show; the first object out of the booth was a Sol LeWitt. It showed and sold a variety of artworks from a penny table rug from about 1970, made with linen, cotton, silk and wool, to work by Eric Alto, “North Atlantic, ” 2009, by Jeff Briggs and two works by Richard Harms, the 1995 pastel “Gardiner’s Bay” and an untitled 2009 piece.
Room 68 of Jamaica Plain, Mass., is a selective purveyor of emerging design. The gallery offered edgy pieces like the Chippensteel 0.5 chair, a surprisingly comfortable inflated steel chair, and the “Plop” inflated steel stool, both by Oskar Zieta. There was also a bookseat — a bookcase surrounding a chair by Mani Mani for Fishtnk. Lighting included the Orbicular lamp by Nervous System that was featured on the cover of the show catalog. A couple of exercise balls wrapped in bicycle tubes was of interest, as were two felted wool objects — a bowl and handbag — that closed into flat squares.
Bridges Over Time of Newburgh, N.Y., sold a two-piece 1940s Hollywood Regency sofa that can be used as a single seating piece or as a pair. Ed and Betty Koren had a pair of Grosfeld House serpentine chests, a 1950s Stratford House credenza and a stunning 1953 Salvatore Meli ceramic work.
Seville, Spain, cabinetmaker Javier Ybarra maintains a studio in Somerville, Mass., where he crates his Cubes On Air tables and case pieces. He showed a dining table of maple and padouk set on Lucite legs and with extension leafs. His lighting pieces incorporate the same blend of woods, making for interesting and desirable acquisitions. Ybarra also showed a floral tapestry by the 96-year-old Pill Mencos Armero, who lives and works in Seville.
In addition to their duties producing a flawless show, Tony Fusco and Bob Four also run their own art gallery. They displayed the work of Karl Hagedorn and Myer Abel, Frederico James’s 1945 “Missouri Landscape” and “Grande Vallee — Gaspe Peninsula” by Vera Andrus. Fusco and Four also showed a set of 12 Wedgwood Queensware plates depicting traditional industries of New England based on engravings commissioned from Clare Leighton. They were on view with related paintings by regional artists.
AD 20/21 also incorporates the Boston Print Fair dealers in booths clustered around the main entrance.
Hard by the front door, A.W. Massey Fine Art of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., filled the booth with a gripping selection of work by Alex Katz, including a full-length figure of Ada. The display recalled the Katz exhibit last summer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and introduced new collectors to the Massey gallery. Around the corner from the Katz pictures were works by Damien Hirst, Donald Sultan and Jasper Johns. Sales were strong enough to merit a return engagement.
Edward T. Pollack Fine Art came from Portland, Maine, with such work as Will Barnet’s 1972 “Introspection 5733,” John T. Ross’s 1962 collograph “Provincetown Beach” and a 1959 woodcut by Antonio Fransconi.
Sold stickers were evident in the booth of Salem rare books dealer Thomas Boss, who added handwritten textiles, prints and bookplates to the mix this year.
Center Street Studio is a Boston printer and publisher of contemporary prints. They showed artist Bill Thompson’s urethane on polyurethane pieces abounding in color, a selection of watercolor monotypes from Jeff Perrott’s “Dervish” series and Robert Parke Harrison’s photographs printed using chine-collé and beeswax coating.