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Cross-campus art installation, ‘Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies,’ aims to entice local residents to Northeastern

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Cross-campus art installation, ‘Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies,’ aims to entice local residents to Northeastern
Joiri Minaya, “Container #6,” 2020, archival pigment print on Epson Legacy photography paper. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Northeastern University’s Gallery 360 has debuted a cross-campus exhibition in partnership with Northeastern Crossing, a Tremont Street space that serves both the Northeastern and neighboring Roxbury communities. The exhibition explores the colonial links between land and the bodies of oppressed groups and aims to draw local residents to the campus.

“Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies” originated at The Gallatin Galleries at New York University, and the NYU team has worked collaboratively with Juliana Barton, Director of the Center for the Arts at Northeastern and Curator of Gallery 360, to translate the show for a Boston audience. There are a few changes to the show in its Boston form: Barton has included three new artists, Allison Janae Hamilton, Wendy Red Star and duo Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle.

Tessa Grundon, “Contours Series,” 2015, mud and beeswax on handmade paper. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Each of the eight artists in the exhibition explores the connection between colonial oppression and land or water masses. In a particularly poignant series, Dominican American artist Joiri Minaya makes constricted bodysuits featuring images that came up in the Google search “Dominican women.” In her multimedia installations, women wearing the bodysuits are posed in parks and other natural spaces. During “breaks” in the performance, they shed the bodysuits and are able to walk in their own skins without the restrictions of the colonial and male gaze. 

“This subject matter really fits so well into so many different areas of research and teaching and curricular activity at Northeastern,” says Barton. “Environmental sciences, gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, the study of art and new media. The intersections and interdisciplinarity between all of those things really comes through in the artists’ work that’s being presented.”

Ada M. Patterson, “Yuh Too Sweet,” 2018, Digital video. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST.

Fluid Matters, Grounded Bodies” is on view at Gallery 360 and Northeastern Crossing through April 6, 2024. Both spaces are free and open to the public.

Equally important to the exhibition itself are the locations. Northeastern Crossing is a space that’s open to both university-affiliated individuals and the general public in the greater Roxbury community. Anyone can book the space for an event, as long as the event is open to the public. Individuals can also visit the space for job application support and the use of computers and printers.

Chimel Idiokitas, assistant vice president for community relations at the university and manager of Northeastern Crossing, grew up in Roxbury and felt little connection with the campus earlier in life, he says. He’s been able to watch as Northeastern works to make its campus and programs more accessible to locals.

Experiencing the campus early on can be a game changer for young people, says Idiokitas.

Beatriz Cortez, “Glacial Pothole,” 2020, steel. COURTESY OF COMMON WEALTH AND COUNCIL.

“If you can be on campus and see it in real time, and see that this is not such a far-fetched thing, college becomes real,” he says. “And it’s just as important for folks that are not young people. So they can understand that there are resources here for them that are open to them, whether it be the library, whether it be the cafes, whether it be just a green space.”

The goal of the dual-location exhibition is to entice Bostonians to Northeastern and to encourage them to walk through the campus to see both venues. To get from Northeastern Crossing to Gallery 360, located on the first floor of the Curry Student Center in the heart of the campus, visitors walk by the Ruggles T stop, through a welcoming quad with lawn games and Adirondack chairs and past numerous murals by local artists like Silvia Lopez Chavez and Cedric Douglas.

“We know that Northeastern has a history, whether positive or negative, within Roxbury specifically,” says Idiokitas. “So we want to make sure that we’re paying it forward and we’re showing that we want to be a part of the fabric of the community and not just taking over the community.”

arts, Fluid Matters Grounded Bodies, Gallery 360, Northeastern Crossing, northeastern university