The ICA Celebrates 75 Years Of 'Renegade' Art

By Jared Bowen   |   Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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Oct. 26, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 19 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — It was 75 years ago this month that the Boston Museum of Modern Art opened in Boston. It billed itself as the "renegade offspring" of the Museum Of Modern Art. You know it better today as the Institute of Contemporary Art, or the ICA. I spent some time there last week looking at its history and its brand new show, Dance/Draw.

Advancing The Avant-Garde

"It was an important place on the art scene because of the whole idea of contemporary art and really showing the work that was coming out of Europe where the avant-garde was so alive," said Jill Medvedow, Director at the ICA.

The museum opened with a splash, presenting the first Boston area survey of Paul Gauguin. It lured Salvador Dali to its first gala. From there the museum just plowed forward, showing art emerging near and far. Swiss architect and designer Le Corbusier presented his first US show here in 1948.

"One of the things I love in looking at the ICA's history, and the word that keeps coming up for me is rupture; of trying to see what existed in the past and making a break with that in favor of a bold statement that's always facing forward," Medvedow said.

Like in 1966 when a forward-thinking ICA recognized the significance of Andy Warhol and was the first museum to show his films.

Casting The Net Wider

"Sometimes the most important contemporary art might not be seen in a gallery. Might be seen outside of a museum's walls, or in a theater, so we brought the Ballet Russes when we did our Picasso Matisse exhibition. When we showed Andy Warhol so early in Warhol's career, we brought iconic performances by the Velvet Underground," Medvedow said.

Just as it has brought the work of choreographer Trisha Brown for its newest show, "Dance/Draw."

In a regular series of performances on Thursdays and weekends, dancers perform "Floor of the Forest" within the exhibition.

Helen Molesworth, chief curator at the ICA described it this way.

"It speaks to the kind of blurring of boundaries between different disciplines. So on the one hand it's a sculpture; it's constructed out of steel pipe and there's a very heavy steel pipe webbing, woven into that webbing is pieces of clothing. And then what happens is the two dancers mount this apparatus and they wind and weave their way through the clothing. They both look like they're at the floor of the forest, they look like monkeys or lemurs but they also have this dolphin quality of breaking the water and then going back under," Molesworth said.

In the very smart, very engaging "Dance/Draw," ICA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth explores the literal line in art — whether it's in dance, sculpture or drawing.

'A Lodestar For Artistic Expression'

"Language remains fundamental to human communication and I think line remains fundamental to human visual communication. We can't escape it. The line remains whether it's the line of the body in dance or the kinds of lines that drawing give us. It's just a lodestar for artistic expression," Molesworth said.

"Dance/Draw" investigates drawing dating back to the 1960s, a time when Molesworth says art and dance broke away from tradition. The first gallery shows drawings made by batting heavily mascaraed eyelashes, by bouncing basketballs and by swirling hair. It's artists using the body, not just the hand.

"They started to democratize the art process. They wanted to make art with things that everybody had around the house with gestures that anyone could do," Molesworth explained. "Because they didn't want art to be only in the province of the wealthy or the highly trained, it was part of a massive cultural revolution that happened in the 60s and 70s."

Could Your Kid Really Do That?

But it begs the age-old question, could I bounce a basketball and get these results?

"What I always say to people is yes, your kid could do that. But after they started, could they finish? Would they have stuck with it? Would they have the endurance? The patience? And if they had gotten to the end and realized it didn't look quite right, would they have thrown it away and started again? That's really where the art part of it comes in," said Molesworth.

And out. The show also follows the line as it moves off the canvas.

"String and wire are a 3-dimensional line. So instead of looking at those objects as sculpture I started looking at them as drawings. And actually seeing the line having literally moved off the page and into space," Molesworth said.

And forward. Which has been the ICA's charge for 75 years — it will follow the line wherever it reinvents art.

Weightlifting Program Helps At-Risk Kids

By Toni Waterman   |   Thursday, October 20, 2011
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Oct. 21, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 20 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — Six days a week, Jon Feinman can be found at the gym, teaching inner-city teens about the lesser known sport of Olympic weightlifting.

"Olympic lifts just involve a tremendous amount of technique and practice and patience and learning," he said. "And what we see with a lot of our students is that it teaches a lot of basic skills in terms of patience, hard work, dedication."

Feinman is the founder of Innercity Weightlifting, a program designed to get the city's most at-risk kids off the streets and into the gym. It launched two years ago with four students. Today, its membership tops 200. But, Feinman says, weightlifting is just the hook to get kids through the door. Once inside, it's all about mentoring.

"Hey, how's school going?" Feinman asked a young student in between reps.

Feinman and his team of 11 coaches and tutors are dedicated to rebuilding their students' lives, offering classes on personal training and in-house GED tutoring. And the two-year-old program is already seeing some real world successes.

"We have some kids who get back into school. There are two students this summer that have graduated from the Boston public school credit recovery program and now they're working full time jobs," said Feinman. "We've gotten three and hopefully four now, students into Year-Up where they get college credit, stipend and internship."

And Feinman added, there are a lot of success stories still in the making, like that of 23-year-old "Frank," who asked that we not use his real name. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade and has been in and out of jail ever since.

"My record, I've got gun charges, I've got attempted murder, robbery— basically violence, gun charges basically," Frank said.

Since joining Innercity Weightlifting, Frank said he's turned his life around, meeting with a tutor twice a week and studying to become a personal trainer.

"I come here for hope. It did change my life a lot because usually I would have been in the streets, running wild," said Frank.

Volunteer GED tutor Kelly Jeffers works with Frank twice a week and said he's made incredible progress since joining the program last year.

"He's been able to take the GED test one time already. He's passed a majority of the test and only has a couple more to pass," said Jeffers. "He has to take the remainder and we're hoping he's the first person from this program to get their GED through the tutoring we do here."

Jeffers is the program's one tutor and says out of all the programs out there looking for tutors, this is the one that caught his attention.

"The guys are really great. They all have amazing personalities. They're all very loud and boisterous and they really like to joke around, but they also seem very receptive to a lot of the lessons you're really teaching them, not just academic lessons, but the life lessons," said Jeffers.

The program has also helped to get 19-year-old "Breeze," who also did not want his real named used, off the streets and back into school. With the help of an Innercity Weightlifting tutor, he graduated from a technical school in August.

"I've got good coaches, good mentors. They're actually training me now for college, because I start college in January," Breeze said. "It keeps me out of trouble. I have somewhere, something to do."

As for Jon Feinman, he said the program's popularity and success is making it hard to meet demand. His biggest obstacle? The uncontrollable nature of the streets.

"My fear is that there's always going to be the streets around that are going to be trying to prevent what we're trying to accomplish," Feinman said. "But, we've seen change happen in some kids that people thought wasn't possible. And just those success stories alone are enough to keep us going."

Consignment Shopping To Stay Stylish In A Down Economy

By Jaclyn Cashman   |   Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Oct. 19. 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 17 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — Most shoppers, even label lovers, agree that clothing doesn't give you a great return on your investment, only your sense of style.

To stay stylish in this rugged economy, people are turning more to secondhand clothing.

Sam Hollister is a realtor by trade, but her passion is finding great shopping deals. She found a consignment shop in her neighborhood a few years ago and boasts that 60 percent of her clothing is used. She says she turns over her collection by bartering.

Hollister said, "If I sell a 300-dollar dress I am probably only getting less than 100 dollars for it, but I use that credit to buy another dress so it is kind of like operating at zero, which is great."

The Closet on Newbury Street has been in business for 34 years. Kevin Kish started the business in his living room and explains how the process works today.

Kish said, "It is good to have an appointment. Once someone does that, we ask them to bring in their 15 best pieces. We price it for them and mail checks every month."

The question everyone wants to know is how much can they make.

Kish said, "The contract says we set the price, but we do listen to our consigners. We don't want them walking away or being upset with the clothing that we sell."

Generally, an article of clothing sells for half or a third of the original price. If the item doesn't sell in 30 days the price drops by 25 percent and 50 percent after 60 days.

Each consignment shop offers different deals. The Closet gives you half the sale price, while Second Time Around writes a check to the consigner for 40 percent of the profit.

Another option for the cost conscious shopper is to rent a dress for a Friday night party. A company out of Harvard Business School called Rent the Runway came up with the idea.

Rent the Runway allows women to rent designer dresses and accessories starting at $40 for dresses and $10 for accessories. Letitia Tandean is a BU Student and an RTR Rep.

Tandean said, "I know a lot of college students and I know we can't get a new dress every week. It is a way to expand your wardrobe without really expanding it."

Tandean doesn't get paid in dollars but credit toward a free rental.

Tandean said, "If we get girls to sign up we get dress credits and if we get a girl to rent a dress we get more credits."

RTR lets you rent the dresses for 4 or 8 days. You don't have to dryclean it once you are done — just pop it in a mailbox.

If you don't want to share the profit with a consignment shop, you can also try your luck with eBay. However, it is very important to post photos that really show off the clothing and provide a quality description. The better the photos you post, the greater the profit. You should share your eBay links on Facebook and Twitter to publicize what you are selling.

Paul Revere's Bell Is Born Again In Boston

By Cristina Quinn   |   Monday, October 17, 2011
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Oct. 17, 2011

BOSTON — Patriots young and old gathered in front of the Old South Meeting House in Downtown Boston Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to an old bronze bell. But it wasn't just any old bronze bell. This bell was made by Paul Revere and his foundry back in 1801, one of only 49 still believed to exist. And it was about to be hoisted up to the belfry of the Old South Meeting House, which has stood without a bell for 135 years.

Paul Revere's bronze bell before being hoisted up to the belfry of the Old South Meeting House in Boston. (Cristina Quinn/WGBH)

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and members of the Old South Association saluted the bell's arrival with choruses, brass ensembles and a hand bell choir.

The mayor emphasized the historical significance of both the bell and its maker.

"Several hundred thousand people walk by here every day. It's part of maintaining our past for the future. It's very special," Menino said.

The bell spent over 160 years at the First Baptist Church in Westborough until the church closed in 2007. It seemed natural that such an important bell be placed in the meeting house where colonists began the Boston Tea Party.

But for some in the crowd, the Old South Meeting House has a personal and more recent connection. Christiana Fisher and James Peterson of Allston were married at the Old South Meeting House in April, when it was without a bell.

"We wanted a bell at the end of the ceremony, and so my mother arranged for everybody who attended to ring hand bells at the end of the ceremony, which was awesome, and now they're getting a bell, so we came back to check it out," Fisher said.

For others at the ceremony, it was just another day at work. Scott Brooks is the crane operator responsible for picking up the 879-pound bell and assuring its arrival in the belfry.

"I work around here all the time. I make a lot of picks, but this is kind of special. It's part of history and part of Boston," Brooks said.

The crowd watched in near silence as Brooks slowly lifted the bronze. By 2 p.m., Paul Revere's bell was in its new home, and in a few short weeks, the bell will chime at the top of every hour, just as it did for the colonists of Boston so many years ago.

Occupy Boston Grapples With Growing Movement

By WGBH News   |   Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Oct. 13, 2011


In early October, protesters in Boston's Dewey Square posted a list of needed supplies. Now the Occupy Boston group has about $10,000 in its coffers. (Wikimedia)

BOSTON — It's raining, there are no porta-potties and it's only going to get colder. But Occupy Boston protesters are holding on and organizing for the long haul.

Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger said about $10,000 of donations came in after Boston police arrested scores of activists in the early hours of Oct. 11.

"We realized that legally we couldn't just be taking donations in willy-nilly," Potteiger said during an interview with WGBH's Emily Rooney on Thursday. Taking a cue from Occupy Wall Street, "We found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit who was sympathetic to our cause and they've agreed to manage the money for us."

So far they've used the money just to print flyers, buttons and stickers, Potteiger said. The group, however, is forming an official finance committee to manage the money. High on the list: A bicycle-powered generator.

Rain is forecast through Friday.

Making Green Energy The Norm

By Kara Miller   |   Friday, October 7, 2011
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Episode 1, Part 1

Wind turbines are seen near the Columbia River in Washington State. (Shutterbug Fotos/Flickr)

America has talked for a long time about embracing green energy.

President Obama discussed the idea last year, saying, "Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future, jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. But it’s also how we will reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, a dependence that endangers our economy and how security. And it is also how we will leave our children a safer planet than the one we inherited."

So, what new technologies are available that allow households and businesses to rely on green, clean energy? And how do we scale them? A panel of experts joins us to look at the green revolution and how that revolution might remake America.


Local Innovation: A Tool To Find Green-Energy Incentives

(realmofreals via Flickr)

Many homeowners and business owners are interested in building green buildings, retrofitting existing ones, or buying green appliances — but, initially, such projects can appear to be more expensive than taking less green routes. Jeremy Doochin and Jonathan Doochin, two brothers with combined experience in the Department of Energy, the private sector, and the non-profit sector, know that there's a web of state, local and private incentives available to make such projects cheaper, but it can be difficult to navigate them. They have founded U.S. Green Data, a website that puts information about available incentives in one place to help customers understand how they can save money on green projects, and offers consulting, analysis and ROI reports.

Click the player above to listen.

About the Authors
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 
Kara Miller Kara Miller
As a radio host, Kara Miller has interviewed thinkers from E.J. Dionne to Howard Gardner, Deepak Chopra to Lani Guinier. She is a panelist on WGBH-TV's "Beat the Press," as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, and The International Herald Tribune.

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