This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen discusses Mark Wahlberg's latest film, figurative painting at the ICA and a public art display coming to a bus station near you.
Now playing in theaters
Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg is back in theaters to tell the true story of Father Stuart Long with his latest film “Father Stu.” The film follows a Montana boxer turned actor after his career in the ring is cut short by injury. But he changes his path yet again when he's introduced to the Catholic church and decides that becoming a priest is his true calling.
The film was originally pitched to Wahlberg by a priest. "A lot of it actually tracks with Mark Wahlberg’s life, somebody who we know grew up in the streets of Boston. He was involved in criminal behavior. He was jailed at one point in his youth, but set his sights on Hollywood and then turned his life around," says Bowen. "And he is also a very religious person."
Long was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, a disorder that causes the muscles to weaken and atrophy over time. It's a rare disease with no treatment or cure. His illness gave the real-life priest a renewed appreciation for life, which guided his religious journey and encouraged him to do more to help others. According to Bowen, "Mark Wahlberg delivers a very, very solid performance here," bringing "gravitas" and "a tremendous heart" to the role.
A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now
On view at the Institute of Contemporary Art through Sept. 5
The latest exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art highlights the work of eight figurative painting artists. Unlike abstract art, figurative painting is easily identifiable as being a reflection of the real world. This familiar style, which was previously deemed "old fashioned," marks a return to more traditional art forms in works that were all created in the last five years.
"You can't help but look at these canvases — and a lot of them are really large scale — and see other people's stories, see your own story, see a sense of community all come together in the way that artists have rendered people intertwined. There is a lot of intimacy here, just in relationships, in the way of looking at life," Bowen says. "I have to say, I was quite blown away by this show."
20 Artists: Global Positioning
On view at JCDecaux bus shelters in Boston, New York City and Chicago through June 5
Public Art Fund's latest collaboration with JCDecaux is changing up the experience of waiting for the bus by spreading art rather than ads. "This is what I love about this city. This is what I love about public art." says Bowen.
Twenty international artists' work are currently featured at bus stops across Boston, New York and Chicago. "Art is everywhere you want to find it — even in the most unexpected places, which I think is delicious," Bowen raves. With spring rolling into Boston, it's the perfect time to go out for a walk and see how many you can find!