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Boston housing trend: an art gallery in your building's lobby?

From paintings to video art, residential buildings increasingly add art as a necessary fixture, right along with the doorman.

Radian apartments. Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian Radian is one of a few different apartment buildings taking the opportunity to have running art exhibits.
Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

Home, for some, is where the art is. From paintings to video art, residential buildings increasingly add art as a necessary fixture, right along with the doorman. Radian opened in May near the Rose Kennedy Greenway with an expansive art selection favoring local artists, including Half & Half & Honey by Alyson Denny, a colorful ever-moving single-channel video loop.

“Not to have art would feel dry, less human,” says Radian co-developer Noam Ron, who was instrumental in selecting the art. “The art gives an immediate appreciation and opportunity to differentiate between other buildings. Half & Half & Honey is quite unique; I don’t know of another residential building in the country with a permanent indoor video art installation. Certainly, it’s the first in Boston.”

Passers-by can glimpse the piece through the windows on Kingston Street, but Radian’s art is, like most residential building’s, a private art collection available only to “insiders”. The Arlington in the Back Bay, however, optioned the ground floor adjacent to the lobby for a restaurant and art gallery, Liquid Art House. Independently run, Liquid Art House’s exhibits are rotated throughout The Arlington’s private common areas and hallways, but anyone can view the art over dinner or a drink.

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In Fort Point, following nearby residence/art space innovator FP3’s ideals, Gerding Edlen Development’s two rental buildings, 315 on A and Factory 63, both focus on art. Ross Chanowski first lived at Factory 63 on Melcher Street and then moved to 315 on A, which opened in spring year on A Street. In September, he’s opening an exhibit at his former home.

“Living in both buildings has opened up my world to art and I've jumped right in,” says the 25-year-old, who describes himself as an entrepreneur. “This is an exhibition of the work from Artists for Humanity, curated by Meredyth Hyatt Moses and produced by me. I've also put on various pop-ups in both buildings. Having art in my home, in a communal space, serves as a unifying force for residents and neighbors alike.”

One person’s art is another’s nightmare; choosing widely appealing yet innovative fixtures is key.

“We thought abstract would work on many levels,” says Ron. “We avoided hyper political or paintings of the Zakim Bridge. We didn’t want clichés or to be hyper urban and self-referential, like architectural drawings of the building. People arrive home and often want respite from the hustle and bustle. They’re downtown, but they’re also home and want to leave the city behind.”

 
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