Boston Public Art Triennial To Open Lot Lab 2024 June 10

Special to the Patriot-Bridge

Boston Public Art Triennial, formerly known as Now + There, will open “Lot Lab 2024” in Charlestown Navy Yard on June 10, with new public art installations by artists Ifé Franklin and Matthew Okazaki, and a previously commissioned work by Hugh Hayden. This second year of Lot Lab – a free and outdoor, 24/7 experimentation zone for site-specific contemporary public art created with the Boston community – is a continuation of Boston Public Art Triennial’s collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS) that aims to shift an underutilized space into one where art and community come together. Lot Lab 2024 is part of the City of Boston’s “Un-monument | Re-monument | De-Monument: Transforming Boston,” a program of temporary artworks, public talks, and engagement activities supported by the Mellon Foundation’s Monument Project.

Local artist Matthew Okazaki presents TORII, a series of architectural sculptures referencing a nearby symbolic Japanese Torii Gate at the historic Marine Barracks, which rectifies its loss of meaning and cultural heritage. Ifé Franklin, also local to Boston, presents The Resurrection of Mark, Phillis, & Phebe, a floating indigo cocoon sculpture that offers a place of rest for the spirits of three enslaved ancestors. Her work quilts together traditional African adire textiles and cosmology to tell a tale of Black diasporic resistance, honoring Mark, Phillis, and Phebe, who lived in colonial Charlestown and died for their freedom after rebelling against their enslaver. Nationally acclaimed artist Hugh Hayden is recontextualizing Gulf Stream– a surreal, hybrid boat sculpture first exhibited at Brooklyn Bridge Park and on loan courtesy of Lisson Gallery– connecting local histories like that of the enslaved labor that harvested timbers for the hull of USS Constitution to global histories of trade, migration, and labor.

This year’s theme, Presence, guides the three artists as they explore cultural symbols and hidden histories in Charlestown. Assistant Curator Jasper Sanchez selected Lot Lab 2024’s artists and invited them to imagine beyond categorizing people and stories as “untold,” instead framing their projects to celebrate that which has always been present in our communities, from diverse cultural heritage to legacies of resilience. The three public art works are always free and available to view all day, every day at Lot Lab’s new location at the intersection of 1st Avenue and 5th Street in the Navy Yard.

“Lot Lab 2024 artists invite us to shift our focus in public art and storytelling from absence into presence,” said Jasper A. Sanchez, Assistant Curator at Boston Public Art Triennial. “When we think of our ancestors and history as ongoing and alive in public spaces, we become more conscious of their impact on our everyday lives, the importance of representation, and the power of community and being present for one another.”

Altogether, they bring to light lesser-told narratives of African and Asian American presence in Charlestown. As temporary art installations at Lot Lab, these works also serve as prototypes for monuments that engage complex subjects – like the violent injustices done to enslaved Black people during the foundation of our country and the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in the states during the second World War – with nuance and care. These projects aim to help us make sense of our country’s complicated past, opening up space for healing and understanding different viewpoints in Boston’s commemorative landscape.

Programs are being planned for Lot Lab 2024, including an opening event on Monday, June 10, 2024 from 5:30 — 7:30 PM. Additionally, Lot Lab artist Ifé Franklin will lead a celebratory processional around the site in remembrance of Mark, Phillis, and Phebe for Juneteenth on June 22, 2024.

Lot Lab is an annual program of Boston Public Art Triennial and it evolves the organization’s annual work of finding and fostering local artistic talent. As the organization plans for Triennial 2025, it invites Greater Boston artists to participate via the Accelerator at Lot Lab. An open call to be released in June of this year. Visit to learn more.

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