Now + There’s Newest Public Artwork Takes Center Stage at the Prudential Center

September 27, 2018
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Public art curator Now + There presents the final curation of its 2018 “Common Home” season on September 19 with UNLESS by Boston artist Stephanie Cardon. This vibrant floor-to-ceiling installation will fill the main entrance to one of Boston’s most popular marketplaces, the landmark Prudential Center at 800 Boylston Street, casting an orange glow over the 80,000+ people who use this entrance each day. Commissioned by Boston Properties, a leader in sustainable building practices and a long-standing advocate for public art, and curated and produced by Now + There, UNLESS explores sustainability, climate justice, and how collective action can create positive change.

A faculty member at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), Cardon’s work will create a striking visual interruption. Cardon’s 3,400-square-foot contemporary tapestry made of repurposed neon orange and brilliant blue construction debris netting offers moments of curiosity and encourages all who walk through this entrance to take notice of the consequences of neglect of our shared environment.

The work incorporates embroidered text from Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical letter, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, urging swift and unified global action towards climate justice.

Many different hands worked together to embroider the text and repair the upcycled netting, including members of the IBA community at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston’s South End and MassArt students who were displaced by the devastating 2017 hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. All were paid fair wages.

An integral part of the artwork is a customized text-messaging interface encouraging the public to text UNLESSBOS to 555888 to receive links to more information and steps we can take together for a positive future, prompting us toward creating sustainability, climate justice, and community investment.

Cardon stated, “Climate change knows no borders or nationalities but its effect will exacerbate the divisions we have drawn between peoples, fomenting xenophobia and racism. This is the time to come together across our differences to care for each other and to organize in defense of our common home.”

“Sometimes, in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, such as mitigating climate change, the best way forward is to simply put one foot in front of the other and take action. Cardon’s creative upcycling of construction waste, coupled with the engagement of those most affected by hurricanes, is an apt metaphor for the collective action we can take towards creating climate justice,” said Now + There’s Executive Director, Kate Gilbert.

“As a leader in sustainable building practices, Boston Properties is pleased to commission a work of art that reflects both our commitment to sustainability and our support for the local arts community. We desire to not only operate our buildings responsibly but also use our assets as a canvas to spark discussion of important social and environmental issues. We are proud to make Prudential Center a “Common Home” for Stephanie Cardon’s UNLESS piece and shine a light on global action towards climate justice,” said Bryan Koop, Boston Properties executive vice president.

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