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Beasts of Burden

Art show sheds light on our complex relationship with animals

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The New Art Center and Unbound Visual Arts in cooperation with the Harvard Allston Education Portal will present “Beasts of Burden,” curated by Jane O’Hara, March 13 – May 5, 2014.  The collaboration resulted from a shared interest in engaging and educating the public through group exhibitions that expand the curatorial dialogue in the Greater Boston area.

“Beasts of Burden,” a boisterous exhibition of artwork in diverse media, will be installed in the Harvard Allston Education Portal Galleries, 175 North Harvard Street in Allston, Massachusetts. Boston-based artist and curator Jane O’Hara is “intrigued by the schizophrenic relationship society has with animals.”  And says, “My idea was to find artists who tackle differing aspects of this topic in their artwork.” The exhibition features the work of 13 artists from Boston, New York, and from as far away as Georgia, Canada and California: Tony Bevilacqua, Ariel Bordeaux, Rebecca Doughty, Raul Gonzalez III, Wendy Klemperer, Denise Lindquist, Jo-Anne McArthur, Moira McLaughlin, Sterling Mulbry, Jane O'Hara, Gedas Paskauskas, Jo Tyler, and Shannon Wright.

Throughout history animals have played an important role in our lives. Our relationship to them has always been a complex one. Humans have hunted and bred animals for food, feared them as predators, revered them as spiritual beings, enlisted them as laborers, sacrificed them in scientific experiments, and prized them as pampered pets. Exploring this duality, the works convey a deep love of and respect for animals, as well as a palpable sense of anxiety, guilt, and outrage regarding crimes perpetrated against them.

The exhibition has two related programs. On Tuesday night, March 18 at 6:00 pm, Almitra Stanley will moderate a conversation among “Beasts of Burden” artists. On Saturday, April 12, at 2:30 pm, nonprofit animal advocacy groups Mercy for Animals and Great Dog Rescue New England will present on their missions and services.

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