Keep the kid:
Boston’s once-controversial mural should be saved as a permanent symbol of the city’s edginess and joy
By Jon Garelick
It's been a year since the Brazilian street-art team of twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, known as Os Gemeos (“the twins”), in conjunction with their exhibit at the ICA, painted their giant untitled mural in Dewey Square. The piece, part of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy’s program of temporary art installations, is scheduled to come down some time this fall. That’s too bad. This former lightning rod of post-9/11 debate deserves to become a permanent public installation. It has transformed not only an inert architectural structure (the air-intake building over the Route 93 tunnel), but also one of Boston’s most important public spaces, at the crossroads of downtown, the waterfront, and South Station.
Public art is a tricky business — in the open air, unlike a museum or gallery show, art is usually something we see by happenstance rather than choice. At worst, it becomes a blight. At best, we simply stop “seeing” what we don’t like. It becomes part of the unobserved background of our daily lives.