Big Red & Shiny announced that the issue it published today will be its last. Begun on Feb. 15, 2004, by a gang of dedicated volunteers, at its height it defined the center of the Boston art scene – in no small part because so many key players in the scene wrote for it. (We were lucky enough to work with Big Red on our first
Boston New England Art Awards.) It was at root an art journal by the artists for the artists.
This in-the-middle-of-things perspective is what made it so vital. And these connections lead to their share of scoops. One of our favorites: The assistant district attorney prosecuting Shepard Fairey moonlighted at a Harvard Square pub featuring Fairey’s work.
People talk about the death of arts coverage, but Massachusetts has been blessed by some of the most pioneering and premier online arts coverage in the country – from Charles Giuliano’s writing for Microsoft’s Sidewalk site (which led by a winding path to his Berkshire Fine Arts) to Big Red & Shiny to Artblog.net (now Franklin Einspruch’s Journal) to Modern Kicks to HubArts to The Hub Review to the Exhibitionist to My Love For You is a Stampede of Horses to, um, us. In many ways, our online arts publications are the journalism equivalent of the local alternative spaces that come and go (and that Big Red always argued we need more of) – and these labors of love have experienced similar trajectories.
Issues of Big Red & Shiny have been getting thinner for some time. But the announcement that this is the last still comes as a sad surprise. We look forward to continuing to bump into the crew at openings, and they say blogging and tweeting will continue, but the Big Red mothership will be deeply missed.