The Language of Art Unveiled in New Dewey Square Mural

Posted September 28, 2015 by Erica Marchant in Theater & Arts
Dewey Square Wall

The freshly painted Greenway Wall in Dewey Square Park has everyone buzzing. It was just what Lucas Cowen, curator of public art at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, had in mind when planning the new mural. In contrast to the vibrant painted pictures that often tell a story in traditional murals, the Wall is now home to a stunning textual art piece designed by Artist Lawrence Weiner. Commissioned by RKG Conservancy in a partnership with MIT List Visual Arts Center, Weiner’s design greatly differs from that of the three previous artists whose enchanting murals have also captivated the thousands of passersby hustling about the city each day.

The family friendly unveiling ceremony held on the scenic Greenway, Boston’s newest city gem and a result of years of construction and rage inducing traffic during the Big Dig, was one of honor and excitement this past Thursday evening.

A Jazz band performed light rhythmic melodies in the background and Weiner, a man of few words, spoke with visitors, fans and fellow artists about his piece. After a quick speech by Weiner himself, the Haley House Slam poets performed original poetry for the large crowd gathering at the event. The little stomps and laughter of children surrounded us while they blew bubbles into the wind and read books from the Uni Portable Reading Room courtesy of The Uni Project. Another hit of the evening was the MadLibs table where passersby looking for a little lighthearted laughter at the end of their busy day came up with funny stories of their own.

Lawrence Weiner, artist, third from left. Photo Credit: Erica Marchant

Lawrence Weiner, artist, third from left. Photo Credit: Erica Marchant

Weiner’s creation looms over the lush green lawn surrounded by specially selected plants and vegetation. A deep blue background pops out against the light blue sky, and as the sun crossed paths with the mural during the early evening hours of the celebration the title painted in red block letters, “A Translation from One Language to Another,” illuminated above us.

The topic of discussion in this lively Downtown Boston park was about opening up conversation and making art with words. “Everything we see, we have to give it a name, we have to give it a name we understand. That’s a logic process.”, Weiner said as he stood before us, his long red leather jacket an artsy compliment to the red Adirondack chairs scattered across the lawn and the tall deep letters seeming to float across the dusky sky above him. Logic is art and art is logic.

Throughout the evening opinions ranging from confusion to adoration, with a few “Where are the pictures?” comments, rushed by my ears. Weiner’s piece does what art is supposed to do. It evokes emotion, whether negative or positive, and inspiration. It paves the way for communication between friends and strangers. It sparks up conversation.

As I stood in awe, I realized Weiner’s piece is not just about words. It tells us that language is art and without art, there is no inspiration. And without inspiration, there is no conversation. And without conversation, we are just zombies passing each other and missing the beauty of the world.

Weiner and RKG Conservancy want you to stop, look up and open your mind to the possibilities and magnificence of the language of art around you.

The mural will be on display in Dewey Square through Aug. 2016.