Yet again the goal to post about women artists with work on Boston Public Art Walk has led me to suddenly see what’s been in plain sight so long, in this case since 1985. That year Kate K. Burke and Gregg LeFevre inlaid more than one hundred bronze relief tablets throughout the brick walkway of one historic lane in downtown Boston. Enduring the impact of all sorts of weather and footwear, most of the tablets still radiate their burnished engaging designs, including significant words and numbers.
A Few Firsts
These and other ‘firsts’ link Boston with inventions, institutions, sports and arts beyond the city of Boston.
Captions for photos are from various Google searches for the above “firsts” in Boston history.
A Few Favorites
I selected the tablets below to show how the artists utilized the standard brick rectangle form in creative ways, gracefully incorporating details and patterns.
Captions for the six photos above include quotes from email responses from Kate Burke to questions I had asked about the titles. They suggest the complex process behind each piece in the project.
Walking Winthrop Lane
A Boston tour guide suggests making Winthrop Lane part of a regular routine stroll, pausing to appreciate a different tablet each time. Intrigued by the fun and facts they’ve given me so far, I will plan to do that!
Captions for the six photos above are quoted from Nick DeLuca’s article: Refurbishing Winthrop Lane Would Help Enliven Downtown Boston.
“An important lesson in working in public art is that you are always doing the unexpected. A project rarely comes along the same way twice, so you are required to figure out how to get things done, which is my specialty!” ( quote from a statement by Kate Burke about another public art project, Minneapolis Manhole Covers.)
UPDATE: MY THANKS TO KATE BURKE
Kate Burke responded to an earlier version of this post with valuable perspective, information, and careful photo adjustments I have incorporated in this current version. Also she supplied the photos below, from earlier dates, of tablets that are now missing or damaged. They are evidence of the need for funding to restore Boston Bricks!
Links to Resources
Kate K. Burke artist website “From bronze bricks in Boston to artistic manhole covers in downtown Minneapolis, Kate Burke has a recognized career in both public art and painting, listed in the Smithsonian Archives of Painting and Sculpture. Predominantly a relief carver and painter, she has had commissions from the Minnesota State Arts Council and the Cities of Minneapolis and Boston working in cast iron, bronze and painted cast carvings.” ( Quoted excerpt is from artist’s website homepage. )
Museum Without Walls: Boston Bricks includes podcast with commentary by Gregg LeFevre
Gregg LeFevre artist website “Since graduating with a degree in philosophy, installation artist/photographer Gregg LeFevre has created over 120 site-specific public artworks in cast metal that provide insight about the nature and character of particular places. He often uses cast relief images and text to illustrate the traits that contribute to the unique personality of a place. His works can be found underfoot in all types of pedestrian spaces, from plazas, parks, bike paths and trails, to lobbies and arcades.” (quote from homepage of artist’s website)