Wet Painting in the Wild: Boston Art Review Founder Jameson Johnson Photographs His Way Around Beantown

Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, an extension of Annie Armstrong’s gossip column in which she gives art world insiders a disposable camera so they can give us a glimpse of their mad industry corner.

I’ve long suspected that my old friend Jameson Johnson might be the most dynamic force in Boston’s art scene. When I moved there to go to university, I was convinced that there was absolutely no artistic community there, until she took me under her wing.

While we were still in school, she launched a fledgling publication, the Boston Art Review, who has now become the city’s seminal authority on art. The magazine recently became a non-profit organization and releases its eighth issuewhich features works by Sheida Soleimani, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Hamzat Raheem and other regional artists.

I handed Johnson a disposable camera to chronicle the week it was printed, and here’s what she did…

My friends always joke that I’m the biggest cheerleader in Boston. I don’t really know how it happened. I didn’t grow up here, but I went there for school and then stayed long enough to start a pretentiously titled art magazine. I guess I feel like if I could find the parts of Boston that are totally adorable, then everyone should. One place I love is Chez Vous, a skate park in Dorchester that’s been running for over 80 years. My friend (and brilliant writer/resident NFT expert) Josie Thaddeus-Johns is currently leading the roller skating load in my group of Cambridge friends and dragged us away from my computer on a Wednesday night to hit the rink.

My days are spent mainly at the MIT List Visual Arts Center where I manage communications.  Natalie Bell (pictured here next to work by Matthew Angelo Harrison) and Selby Nimrod (pictured in a pink jacket at the rink) lead our curatorial programming and office attire.

My days are mostly spent at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, where I manage communications. Natalie Bell (pictured here next to work by Matthew Angelo Harrison) and Selby Nimrod (pictured in a pink jacket at the rink) lead our curatorial programming and office attire.

Occasionally, on weeknights, artist and Harvard professor Katarina Burin gathers local colleagues and guests for a drink.  She calls the gatherings

Occasionally, on weeknights, artist and Harvard professor Katarina Burin gathers local colleagues and guests for a drink. She calls the gatherings “Stammtisch”, the German word for a “regulars table”. I think that means I’m a regular. There was no Stammtisch this week, but we caught up with Katarina anyway and legendary 032c editor Carson Chan (who is now the first director of MoMA’s Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and Natural Environment ).

Shane Silverstein (blue hat) is the performing arts programmer at ICA Boston and once a month spins tracks at State Park.  The biotech brothers who frequent this bar don't deserve its organized airs, so we try to get the artsy crowd to take over when Shane is behind the deck.  That night I was presented with a drink that the bartender called

Shane Silverstein (blue hat) is the performing arts programmer at ICA Boston and once a month spins tracks at State Park. The biotech brothers who frequent this bar don’t deserve its organized airs, so we try to get the artsy crowd to take over when Shane is behind the deck. That night, I was presented with a drink that the bartender called “Somerville Sunset.” It’s Miller High Life with Campari poured straight from the bottle and it could give Dirty Shirley a hard time this summer.

As you can see from the previous photos, the Boston art scene is neither glamorous nor scenographic, but this particular weekend I had the honor of attending the 2022 ICA Gala and the even greater honor to dance the night away with artist Dell Marie Hamilton (left), teacher Nikki Green (middle) and artist Tomashi Jackson (right).  Yes, Tomashi wears a handmade garment from dress shirts.

As you can see from the previous photos, Boston’s art scene isn’t glamorous or scene-y, but this particular weekend I had the honor of attending the 2022 ICA Gala and the even greater honor of dancing the night away with artist Dell Marie Hamilton (left), teacher Nikki Green (middle) and artist Tomashi Jackson (right). Yes, Tomashi wears a handmade garment from dress shirts.

I've been told selfies are required for Wet Paint, so here's our attempt.  I'm on the left next to artist Tomashi Jackson, Harvard Carpenter Center Director Dan Byers is in the middle, and artist Matt Saunders is on the right.  The theme for the evening was “Bringing Venice to Boston” in honor of ICA's presentation of Simone Leigh's work in Venice.  Naturally, I was handed an Aperol spritz and a cicchetti upon entering.

I’ve been told selfies are required for Wet Paint, so here’s our attempt. I’m on the left next to artist Tomashi Jackson, director of Harvard’s Carpenter Center. Dan Byers is in the center and artist Matt Saunders is on the right. The theme for the evening was “Bringing Venice to Boston” in honor of ICA’s presentation of Simone Leigh’s work in Venice. Naturally, I was handed an Aperol spritz and a cichetti when entering.

Staying up late was not an option because on Saturday morning I was at work revising the proof of the eighth issue of the Boston Art Review, Face to Face with some members of our volunteer editorial staff.  We just received an office space donated to us at the Boston Center for the Arts which, for a project I started in a coffee shop, seems completely surreal.  Issue 08 is available May 21st during our launch party and features the work of Providence-based artist Sheida Soleimani on our cover.

Staying up late was not an option because on Saturday morning I was hard at work examining the evidence of Boston Art Reviewwith some members of our volunteer editorial team. We just received an office space donated to us at the Boston Center for the Arts which, for a project I started in a coffee shop, seems completely surreal. Issue eight is available May 21st during our launch party and features the work of Providence-based artist Sheida Soleimani on our cover.

Saturday night, I heard about a jazz/dance/talk/orchestral performance that was happening at MIT where Mickalene Thomas was going to do video DJing.  I canceled my plans and took a ticket.  Dizzy after an overwhelming performance, I forgot to use my flash while taking a photo of Mickalene.

On Saturday night, I heard about a jazz/dance/talk/orchestral performance that was happening at MIT, where Mickalene Thomas was going to be a video DJ. I canceled my plans and took a ticket. Dizzy after a totally moving performance, I forgot to use my flash while taking a picture of Mickalene.

Sunday afternoon, I stopped by a new artist-run space in Jamaica Plain called 10b where my friend and Boston-based artist Lani Asuncion was performing.  Space is a huge issue in Boston, so I always applaud people who try to make it work wherever they can, which in this case is in the garage behind a car wash.

Sunday afternoon, I stopped by a new artist-run space in Jamaica Plain called 10b, where my friend and Boston-based artist Lani Asuncion was performing. Space is a huge issue in Boston, so I always applaud people who try to make it work wherever they can, which in this case is in the garage behind a car wash.

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