March 29–May 30, 2021
ACCESS: Art is an online exhibition that includes new and existing works by: Allison Maria Rodriguez, Basil El Halwagy, Benny Sato Ambush, Callie Chapman, Chanel Thervil, Cindy Lu, Hector René Membreño-Canales, Julian Shapiro-Barnum, and Ngoc-Tran Vu.
Art is a powerful megaphone for sharing ideas, sparking conversations, and creating moments of catharsis or calm. But where is this megaphone directed? Access to art is often a question of privilege, based on factors such as cost, location, language, and the psychological weight created by a history of exclusion and elitism. ACCESS: Art explores the democratization of art and how access and audience are considered in artistic practice.
The artists in ACCESS: Art approach the idea of democratizing art in both new and existing work. Documentation of public installations and performances, music and theatrical works presented on free digital platforms, painting and dance premiered on social media, and photography of public interventions and monuments show the breadth of tactics that artists can use to invite an audience into their practice and provide access to their art.
This exhibition speaks to expanding access in its curation, but also in its presentation. The website has been designed to be accessible in function, with a form that shines a light on alt text, and free artists talks on Zoom will dive into themes of community and public memorials. The exhibition also engages directly with different Boston neighborhoods and communities through window installations and postcards, made possible by partnerships with the Boston Public Library, Boston Community Fridges, Take-a-Zine outposts, and local business Black Market Nubian, Reign Drink Lab and Pho Hoa Restaurant.
The artists in ACCESS: Art are the Boston recipients of the Red Bull Arts Microgrant. Red Bull Arts expanded their microgrant initiative for the duration 2020 which began in Detroit, to 20 cities across the US in response to the urgent need for financial assistance in the arts.
Texts by An Uong, Candace McDuffie, and Heather Kapplow.
About the Curator
Amanda Contrada is a Brooklyn-based curator, producer, and project manager working in art and music. She most recently curated A Language for Intimacy, a digital exhibition presented by BCA and Abrons Arts Center, with Terence Trouillot. She has produced exhibitions including Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder and Bjarne Melgaard’s The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment at Red Bull Arts New York as well as curating and overseeing contemporary art performances and installations at cultural events such as Material Art Fair and MUTEK.