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2013: Boston College's Arts In Review

Assoc. Arts & Review Editor, Asst. Arts & Review Editor, & Heights Editor

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 13:12

In 12 months’ time, a lot has changed in the arts at Boston College—Macklemore & Ryan Lewis came to campus as the biggest act to headline a BC concert in recent history, BC hip-hop dance group Phaymus was contacted to audition for America’s Got Talent after winning the ALC showdown, and waves of experimental music have begun cropping up at open mic events around campus.

The work of French artist Gustave Courbet came to the McMullen Museum, Avenue Q came to Robsham, and woe came to UGBC when its fall concert sold only 995 tickets and ran at a $112,000 loss. Artists around campus organized in response to disaster in the Philippines, and the city of Boston heightened safety measures at concerts in the wake of a tragedy of its own. At BC, the arts served as a force for change, and change came to the arts in turn. The Scene lists the six most powerful happenings in BC arts this year.

1. Courbet: Mapping Realism

If you ever wondered what exactly “realism” means as an artistic movement, you might have found your answer by stepping into the McMullen Museum of Art this semester. An array of detailed landscapes and portraits make up the latest exhibit on display in the museum—Courbet: Mapping Realism. Gustave Courbet, the leader of Realism in 19th-century French painting, is one of the biggest names to be featured within the walls of Devlin Hall since the Pollock Matters exhibit in 2007. While the museum tends to organize its exhibits by artistic period and region, there’s something to be said for a gallery dedicated to a single figure, enabling visitors to witness the visual telling of the painter’s story in the context of broader artistic movements and themes.

Mapping Realism is significant not only in displaying the various works of a renowned artist, but also in bringing a sense of relevance, as it integrates the pieces of Courbet’s American contemporaries. It allows visitors to get a sense of how Courbet attempted to breathe life into his realist landscapes, and how his immediacy of expression has influenced artists closer to home. Beginning as part of an exhibit at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and ending up in a Boston Globe review, Mapping Realism is a journey in and of itself—an exploration into a movement that extends far beyond France. -M.T.

2. BC Artists Organize to Raise Funds for Victims of Haiyan

Less than three days after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, the Boston College community began organizing a fundraiser to meet a first semester goal of $10,000 in relief funds for the victims of storm. BC artists and performing groups played a particularly important role in getting the initiative off the ground. On Nov. 21, a Typhoon Haiyan benefit concert was held in the Rat. The event featured a long list of individual acts, including alternative band Jammin Toast; the 2013 “BC Idol” Caroline Portu, A&S ’16; and William “Times New Roman” Bolton, CSOM ’16; as well as performance groups Masti, UPrising, Sexual Chocolate, Liturgy Arts Group, and Against the Current. The event raised $1,200 in cash donations.

But efforts did not stop there—many of BC’s performance groups were already preparing for late semester show  and opted to run collections outside their performances. A SEASA / Conspiracy Theory Dance Show the night after the benefit concert also collected for the relief effort, and last weekend, sketch comedy group Hello ... Shovelhead! did the same with its fall show—throughout the semester, similar efforts have been cropping up around campus.

The District 1 Kamayan in November was an especially powerful moment in the student mobilization for the Philippines. The culture show brought together Filipino performance groups from across the greater New England area—college students from Boston University, Northeastern, and Brown collaborated with BC students to celebrate a culture and raise money for those suffering in the Samar and Leyte regions of the Philippines. -J.W.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform at Modstock, O.A.R. at Fall Concert

Rapper-producer duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis headlined the Modstock concert on May 2. Administrators were forced to reconsider ticketing policies at the event in the two weeks leading up to the concert, following the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. With the quantity of tickets limited to 6,000, thousands  of undergraduates lined up outside of Conte Forum on the Tuesday before the Thursday concert to pick up tickets at 8 a.m., and several students slept outside the arena overnight.

Boston College rock band Lucid Soul and step team Sexual Chocolate opened for the event, which was held on a cold spring afternoon in the Mod Lot. Following a performance by Brighton hip-hop duo Fresh Aer Movement, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed for just under an hour to an energetic crowd—at several points during the concert, BCPD and Team Ops forced students to ease away from the stage. But Team Ops couldn’t hold us, and Macklemore gave a salty, albeit short performance of his hits, including “Thift Shop,” “Same Love,” and “Can’t Hold Us.”

While all 6,000 tickets went into circulation for Modstock this year, only 995 were sold for the semester’s Fall Concert, and the concert operated at a $112,000 loss. Also put on by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC), the show featured alternative jam band O.A.R. and Boston rapper Moe Pope. In a recent vote, the Student Assembly amended UGBC’s constitution to remove its programming branch, effectively making this year’s Modstock and Fall Concert the last major concerts to be put on by UGBC, save for any such programming it might opt for this spring semester. -J.W.

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