Boston-based independent curator Pedro Alonzo is no stranger to thinking outside the box. His urban-influenced art installations are scattered throughout the city, spilling out of museums and into public space, allowing works to be enjoyed by the general public. Alonzo’s long list of local projects notably includes facilitating the first Dewey Square mural along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, as well as an installation on the side of the former John Hancock building by French artist JR. His latest collaboration with the Trustees takes his vision to the countryside, with a large-scale installation at Ipswich’s Crane Estate following ones at the Old Manse in Concord and World’s End in Hingham.
“This has provided a really unique opportunity to present artists who address a much wider audience,” Alonzo says. “If you think about it, people visit museums but they live in public space. They inhabit public space.”
Alonzo—who began his career working at an art gallery in Mexico—also views public art as a vehicle for creating social and political change. Last year, he again collaborated with JR for an installation built along the border fence in the Mexican city of Tecate. From the American side, the piece depicts a gargantuan image of a smiling toddler peering over the fence toward the United States, shining a glaring spotlight on immigration reform.
“It is very gratifying to take these issues that are all about numbers and statistics and then to humanize them,” Alonzo says. “It gives a voice to people who could easily be overlooked and gives them a tremendous platform to share their worldview and their experiences.”
“There was an issue with the shipping of key elements for an exhibit. The steel tubes and container were lost for a little over a week, and what I learned from it is that when you are working with a great organization and a great artist and her team and her gallery and everyone is professional and rises to the occasion, you can overcome anything. It was a moment where it could have gotten really complicated, but in spite of the logistical complications it was great to be surrounded by professionals, and we all came together and made it work. It was a really great experience.”
INFLUENCERS: GEORGE FOREMAN III | TARA FOLEY | ELLIOT COHEN | JC TETREAULT | JOANNE CHANG | PEDRO ALONZO | AMAN ADVANI | KATHY ABBOTT | BRIDGETTE WALLACE | SUSAN RODGERSON