Big Red & Shiny, the Boston art magazine that was published online from 2004 to August 2010, is relaunching its blog today and offering a new monthly web magazine beginning on Oct. 15, according to the organizers. Welcome back!
The original leaders continue to serve on Big Red’s board, but a new crew will lead editorial operations—John Pyper as editor-in-chief, Stephanie Cardon as commissioning editor for “multimedia content and international contributions,” Anulfo Baez to oversee the blog Our Daily Red, Clint Baclawski to manage “creative content and design,” and Brian Christopher Glaser as manager of listings and intern wrangler.
“Our focus is art,” Pyper writes us. “The old BR&S was volunteer, we’re trying to pay as many of our writers as possible. We are beefing up our blog and creating a separate monthly online journal that is made up of commissioned writing/videos/art. The blog will hold the quick and local responses, trying to celebrate what makes us, us. The journal will find in-depth and universal thoughts that reflect that core creative instinct.”
Today Big Red features introductory messages, art listings, and posts on Rafael Guastavino’s architecture, a campaign to preserve a Bertrand Goldberg building in Chicago, the “Bricks and Mortar” pop-up exhibit, Os Gemeos, the Picó Picante dance party, Derrick Adams speaking about his show at the Boston Center for the Arts, and Kiyonori Kikutake’s architecture.
Why relaunch Big Red & Shiny rather than start a new publication from scratch? ”We are inheriting a legal non-profit that published 135 issues,” Pyper writes. “We have a major leg up by inheriting that history. We also get a network from which to create new work.”
The relaunch is scheduled to include an art party at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery on Sept. 29 and panels on art writing and community at MIT’s Bartos Theater on Oct. 27.
At its height, the original Big Red defined a center of the Boston art scene—in no small part because many key players in the scene wrote for it. At heart, it was an art journal by artists for artists.
And it was a leading light in a vital online Boston arts publishing scene—including Charles Giuliano’s Berkshire Fine Arts, Franklin Einspruch’s Artblog.net, Modern Kicks, HubArts, The Hub Review, the Exhibitionist, My Love for You is a Stampede of Horses and us. Berkshire Fine Arts shifted it focus to western Massachusetts and theater. The Hub Review and we are still going strong. The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artsake offers listings of grants and exhibit opportunities, coverage of its grantees, and some visual arts posts. Others are dormant or intermittent. Artblog.net died and then revived.
Some new comers have appeared around Boston, like Nate Risteen’s Boston Art Review, Liz Devlin’s Flux Boston, Alulfo Baez’s The Evolving Critic, the photo mag and blog 3200K, the print publication Spirited magazine, and so on. Meanwhile the newspaper business has continued to contract—reflecting a long-term decline in advertising revenue compounded by the crappy economy.
The upshot is that over the past two years, there has been less in-depth coverage of art being made around Boston. And fewer writers deeply engaged in our visual art. Which is vital to finding and fostering great artmaking here. Which is vital for fostering a great community for all of us who live here. We hope the resurrected Big Red will help improve that situation.