off the street and into the gallery

On View: March 16 – 19, 2016

Gallery Hours: 2-6pm

Reception: Friday March 18, 7-9pm

Gallery 263 is pleased to present NOT ART (captured),  the first solo exhibition of photographs taken by the street artist of his stencils. Working in collaboration with curator Maura McCaw, the NOT ARTist (who prefers to remain anonymous) has selected 40 iPhone photographs for this four day special exhibition from among the thousands he has taken over the past eight years. In conjunction with the exhibition, we invite you to discover chalked NOT ART stencils on Cambridge sidewalks near Gallery 263.

The stenciled block letters NOT ART have appeared on abandoned buildings, crumbling brick walls, paint-splattered sidewalks and other improbable places around Cambridge, Boston, Somerville and New York City. A master of observation, the NOT ARTist  draws attention to the subtle beauty and serendipitous order of commonplace and transitory objects, and shares his vantage point with the public.  The curious passer-by intrigued by the all-caps message might subsequently recognize and evaluate their context: noticing the texture of chipped paint or an arrangement of discarded trash. NOT ART opens up a conversation about Art and where it can be found, seen and shared. On the street NOT ART is ephemeral;  debris is collected, walls are repainted, and the artists’ mark is erased; the street scene no longer posits this complicated conversation about Art. However, through photographs, taken off the street and into the gallery space, NOT ART (captured) does just what the title suggests, framing and formally sharing the NOT ARTist’s intention for the first time.

NOT ART began with an experiment in 2007. Without explanation, the NOT ARTist left a charred wooden box filled with found objects on a table at work. It provoked the curiosity of coworkers, who speculated about the meaning of the mysterious box. Was it an interesting collection of trinkets, miscellaneous junk, or was it Art?  The reactions of his co-workers prompted the NOT ARTist to seek out visual equivalents of this experiment in the urban landscape.

The NOT ARTist has been working in assemblage and collage since 1998. His work has been shown in the Cambridge, Somerville and Boston area. He has participated in group shows at Out of the Blue, Zeitgeist and Lot F galleries. A 2014 interview with WGBH’s Callie Crossley first brought his work into the public spotlight, and it has subsequently attracted the attention of many reporters, bloggers and local media outlets. Selected press includes; “Meet the Man Behind Not Art”/WGBH, “The ‘Not Art’ Stencil Project is Meant to Inspire ‘Wonder’”/Boston Magazine, and “Chatting About Art With The Man Behind Not Art”/BDC Wire.

Gallery 263 advances the artistic endeavors of makers and performers, while fostering public engagement, enrichment, and exchange. Functioning as a creative nexus, Gallery 263 provides a contemporary voice for the arts in Cambridge and our regional communities.

Gallery 263 exhibits are free and open to the public.