Local Industry | Reports

Got DVDs?

1 May , 2003  

Written by Randy Steinberg | Posted by:

The Gallery @ Green Street opens a DVD library of indie movies and new media with a 72-hour screening in conjunction with the Boston Cyberarts Festival.

Move over Blockbuster, there’s a new kid in town. "The Gallery @ Green Street" is an avant-garde art gallery located in Boston’s diverse Jamaica Plain neighborhood. In conjunction with the 2003 Boston Cyber Arts Festival (April 26 – May 11), The Gallery @ Green Street will launch a DVD rental library featuring the works of video, DVD, and

Internet artists. Patrons will be able to rent DVDs from the Gallery, but they won’t find the likes of "The Matrix" or "Austin Powers." The Gallery’s DVD library will feature daring, visual works that remind one more of Andy Warhol and Maya Deren rather than Lucas or Speilberg.

The Gallery @ Green Street shares space with a train stop on Boston’s MBTA orange line. The Gallery is not immediately noticeable to the pedestrian, but its charm is undeniable. The trains clatter and roll underneath The Gallery, a cozy and airy set of rooms devoted to non-commercial works of visual arts. The Gallery does not possess the chic of its confreres on Newbury Street, but that is not its goal. The Gallery is a non-profit space dedicated to providing a forum for visual artists who would otherwise not have a chance to exhibit their work at some of the more exclusive galleries that pepper Boston.

At The Gallery, exhibits range from the works of students to seasoned professionals, but all possess one characteristic in common: they are cutting-edge projects not normally seen in traditional galleries and art shops. Paintings, sketches, sculpture, metal-work, assemblages of wire — even piles of laundry have adorned the walls and floors of The Gallery in its five year existence. And now, The Gallery seeks to expand its commitment to the visual arts by displaying and offering for rent on DVD works of "new media" artists.

It is impossible to deny the rise of new technology and new media. Digital video and the Internet have allowed artists to expand the range, perception, and exhibition of images as captured on film and video. Indeed, digital technology has enabled the ranks of film and video makers to swell. Gone are the days where an independent filmmaker must assemble large groups of people and equipment to complete his or her project. Armed with a hand-held digital camera, the video artist can record sound and image and easily transfer his or her work to a DVD or onto the Internet. The Gallery @ Green Street sees "new media" as an extension of the more traditional visual arts. Now, technology has allowed exhibition and distribution of these budding arts to become a more feasible reality.

The Gallery’s creator is James Hull, a native Georgian with an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Georgia. He has taught Fine Arts at a number of Boston and area institutes and currently holds positions at Boston University and Rhode Island School of Design. Mr. Hull has also acted as a curator and organizer at several galleries and museums about Boston such as the DeCordova Museum, the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

An active sculptor and artist himself, Mr. Hull, in 1998, salvaged a vacant set of rooms within an MBTA building to transform it into The Gallery @ Green Street. Over the past year, Mr. Hull has planned the newest phase for The Gallery, a DVD library which will offer for rent and exhibition the works of video artists hoping to gain exposure and word-of-mouth about their projects.

Mr. Hull defines the mission behind The Gallery’s expansion as threefold, "First, to create a comfortable, convenient way for more people (artists, curators and potential audiences) to see a wide range of New Media (video, film, and DVD) and sound work that is produced regionally. Second, to broaden the region’s knowledge of and exposure to work being produced in these fields by outstanding and talented Boston-area artists. And third, to support artists beyond The Gallery’s walls. Because Green Street’s capacity is limited, The Gallery would also like to serve as a sound/video/film/DVD advisory and support service. Artists who require larger spaces and feedback regarding projects should feel The Gallery is there for them not only as a resource regarding practical measures, but also as the equivalent of an enthusiastic parent or mentor."

The Gallery is one of a number of locations at which works for the 2003 Boston Cyberarts Festival will be screened. The Boston Cyberarts Festival is "an international biennial festival of art and technology in all media. It includes visual and performing art and explores how artists throughout the world are using computers to advance traditional artistic disciplines and create new interactive worlds." Hull sees the Festival as a natural opportunity to receive a "critical mass" of material with which to launch the DVD rental library. The Gallery will sponsor a 72-hour marathon beginning at midnight on Tuesday, May 6 and running until Friday, May 9. During this time, a line-up of works from a variety of artists will be screened. Mr. Hull hopes this blitz will encourage others to submit their works to The Gallery’s DVD library.

Mr. Hull hopes the Cyberarts Festival will attract many submissions, but the conclusion of the Festival does not signal the end — rather the beginning. The Gallery will continue to accept video work from artists, providing "samplers" whereby potential renters can view small portions of a number of works before deciding to rent the full-length video.

The sky is the limit for The Gallery @ Green Street. Hull envisions a repository where struggling artists may take refuge and display their work. He sees producers, agents, and studios all actively patronizing The Gallery in the search for fresh and creative work. And who knows? Perhaps the next Darren Arronovsky will become a Gallery artist, discovered and funded when a patron stops by to rent a DVD.

The Gallery @ Green Street is located at 141 Green St. in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. More information about the Gallery and its upcoming DVD rental library can be found by calling 617-522-0000 or visiting the website: www.jameshull.com/2003.video.html

Information regarding the 2003 Boston Cyber Arts Festival can be found at www.bostoncyberarts.org


The Gallery @ Green Street is located at 141 Green St. in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. More information about the Gallery and its upcoming DVD rental library can be found by calling 617-522-0000 or visiting the website: www.jameshull.com/2003.video.html Information regarding the 2003 Boston Cyber Arts Festival can be found at www.bostoncyberarts.org