Boston

Otto Piene, Hans Haacke, Laura Grisi, Geny Dignac, Alan Sonfist, Newton Harrison, David Lowry Burgess and Robert Smithson

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some 67 years ago Henry James visited Boston after a long absence from the United States and, viewing the incipient effects of what we have since learned to call “urban renewal,” he remarked: “. . . if I had often seen how fast history could be made, I had doubtless never so felt that it could be unmade still faster.” Most people here have become so sanguine about the prospects for “renewal” that James’s remark would sound to them like the wisecrack of an ungrateful guest. But the process of unmaking that James saw has really come into its own in recent years, to the point where “progress” has encroached not only upon certain wonderful old sectors of the city which were already like ghettoes of sensibility, but somehow upon the concept of history itself. “The New Boston,“ as it was billed in the early sixties, abounds in such disharmonies of scale as are now being consummated in Copley

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.