Mills Gallery Past Exhibitions
25th Drawing Show | The Gig Economy: Depictions of Life and Responses to Work in the Digital Bazaar PDF Print E-mail

25th Drawing Show

Sammy Chong, GREEN, 2015

25th Drawing Show
The Gig Economy: Depictions of Life and Responses to Work in the Digital Bazaar

Robert Moeller
Invited Curator and Juror

Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts
551 Tremont Street, Boston
November 4, 2017–January 7, 2018

Opening Reception Saturday, November 4 | 7–10 pm

Boston Center for the Arts opens its Fall 2017 exhibition season in the Mills Gallery with the 25th iteration of its signature Open Call Drawing Show, juried and curated this year by artist, writer and independent curator Robert Moeller on the subject of The Gig Economy.

Artists: Rory Fitzgerald Bledsoe, Alex Callender, Sammy Chong, Furen Dai, Carol Greenwood, Yikui Gu, Georgina Lewis, Andy Li, Robert A. McCann, Tim McCool, Hans van Meeuwen, Melaney Ann Mitchell, Yorgos Papafigos, Aaron Pennington, Brian Reddy, Chris Revelle, Carlos Enrique Rodriguez, Justin C. Rounds, Pat Shannon, Sophia Sobers, Jxmie Timms and Mandy Cano Villalobos

Also featuring “Talk to an Expert” with digital labor specialist Mary L. Gray

The rise of the gig or sharing economy was heralded as a disruptive moment in how new services and ideas were presented to consumers and how these services were parceled out and monetized. Falsely embedded in this concept was a supposed ethos of freedom, a cavalier insistence on independence that allowed people to work for whomever they wanted whenever they wanted while either supplementing their income or working for a living wage. In many cases, the opposite is true: the companies that created these platforms often incentivize working longer hours while offering no benefits and insisting upon the “contractor status” of their employees. Proprietary algorithms, running behind glossy and easy to use apps are constantly directing an increasingly isolated workforce to complete task after task, with numbing efficiency.

This exhibition seeks to portray and explore the emotional, economic, and truly disruptive nature of work based on this new technology-centered model. Responses range from depictions of micro-economies like bottle collecting and prostitution, to abstract assessments of smart technologies and digressions on connectivity and isolation. A pen is attached to a computer mouse and activities are mapped. The lurid and often celebratory nature of the sexualized “Selfie” is examined via a series of drawings that recast new modes of intimacy and sharing.

Read full press release here.

About the Boston Center for the Arts Drawing Show
Since 1979, the Drawing Show has been a widely anticipated hallmark of visual arts programming at Boston Center for the Arts (BCA). This juried exhibition has allowed BCA to work with more than 500 artists and invited curators. Throughout the Open Call submission process, proposals are welcome from artists everywhere.

Holiday Schedule


The Mills Gallery will be closed the following days:

  • Wednesday, November 22
  • Thursday, November 23
  • Friday, November 24


  • Friday, December 22
  • Saturday, December 23
  • Sunday, December 24
  • Saturday, December 30
  • Sunday, December 31
REAL/IDEAL: Turning Utopia into Reality PDF Print E-mail

Image Credit: Beverly Sky, What You Are Looking For Is What Is Looking: Homage to St. Augustine and R. Magritte, 2017; Photo Credit: Steve Dunwell

REAL/IDEAL (Turning Utopia into Reality)
Mills Gallery | July 20–September 17, 2017
Opening Reception Thursday, July 20 | 6–8 pm
Curated by David Guerra

“The essential function of utopia is a critique of what is present.”
—Ernst Bloch (The Utopian Function of Art and Literature: Selected Essays, 1988)

Artists: Leika Akiyama, Aileen O. Erickson, Kate Gilbert, Ruth Ginsberg-Place, Gisela Griffith, Elisa Hamilton, Alex Khomski, Georgina Lewis, Greg Lookerse, Marilyn Mase, Silvi Naçi, Selina Narovlansky, Victor Ortale, Robert Rovenolt, Rani Sarin, Miriam Shenitzer, Beverly Sky, David Addison Small and guest artists Aaron John Bourque, Eleanor Mary Cepko, Ariel Freiberg, Aurélie Galois, Eben Haines, Dylan Hurwitz, Lillian P. H. Kology, Sara Oliver, Alicia Savage and Jeremy J. Starn

In REAL/IDEAL (Turning Utopia into Reality), 28 artists offer multiple ways to approach connections between an image of reality and an imagined reality. Featuring works by artists from Boston Center for the Arts’ Artist Studios Building along with work from 10 guest artists, curator David Guerra, director of A R E A Gallery, presents a show that articulates utopian dreams and illuminates what might be possible.

Among the global scale issues present in the show, the artists approach the rise of religious fundamentalism, consumerism, human environmental interactions, race representations in media and cultural inclusion. At a personal level, the exhibition addresses concerns such as the artist’s legacy, the idea of love, resistance, ways of looking and ideas of identity and gender.

The exhibition itself challenges existing notions of curating in an attempt to reflect on the ideal exhibition. The works, although selected by David Guerra, are ultimately presented by the public who are asked to co-curate, design and share their personal narratives within the space through the gallery’s floor plan and the artwork.

REAL/IDEAL poses a final question: What is utopia: is it happiness, fairness, fulfillment or freedom? In any case, Guerra posits, it should be an imagination of a transformation, turned into attainable possibilities.

View the press release here.

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Alida Cervantes

Alida Cervantes: Majas, cambujas y virreinacas | April 14–June 25, 2017

Curated by Candice Ivy, presented in conjunction with Wellesley College’s Alice Cole Fellowship

Opening Reception | Friday, April 14, 2017, 6–8pm

Colonial era women encounter nearly nude men in imaginative and perverse works by Alida Cervantes, which conflate Mexico’s racially and socially charged colonial past with its complex present. In conjunction with the Art Department at Wellesley College, artist/curator Candice Ivy has organized a one-woman exhibition of Mexican contemporary artist, Alida Cervantes. Recipient of the 2014 Wellesley College Alice Cole Fellowship, Cervantes’ work explores the complexity and tension of being a “border” artist, and the constant shifts of social and political lines as she crosses the border daily from San Diego to work in her art studio in Tijuana, Mexico. Cervantes’ rich and provocative paintings, drawings and video work address social hierarchies, gender relations, and the reflexive histories situated within colonial and present-day Mexico, where “sex, love, and emotions both flow and are repressed”. Born in Tijuana and living in San Diego, this will be Cervantes’ first East Coast solo presentation of her work.

Free Public Programs

Opening Reception
Friday, April 14 | 6–8 pm

Alida Cervantes in conversation with Adriana Zavala.
Friday, April 14 | 5 pm

To read the transcript of this conversation, click here.

Read the review from The Boston Globe.




Mills Gallery will close at 3 pm on Thursday, May 18 for a private event.

Read the full press release here.

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“I Dread to Think…”, curated by Liz Blum | January 13–March 19, 2017

In the new Mills Gallery exhibition I Dread To Think…, curator Liz Blum integrates varied reflections on the ambiguous, multifarious emotions and feelings surrounding the state of fear, highlighting aspects of inner paranoia and anxiety as well as pointing to external influences—from political inducements, erosions of privacy and the persuasive media loop that seems to nurture our feeling of being unsafe.

Liz Blum is an independent curator and artist working in Massachusetts. The 13 artists selected for this show are Amy Archambault, Ingrid Burrington, Molly Dilworth, Sandra Erbacher, Will Gill, Susanna Hertrich, Damien Hoar de Galvan, Steve Locke, Nicole Maloof, Lauren McCarthy, Lucas Pope, Alex Preston and Tabitha Soren.

Read the curator's letter here.

Free Public Programs

Opening Reception
Friday, January 13 | 6–8 pm

Creative Empathy: A Q&A
with artist Susanna Hertrich, designer Mitch Sinclair and curator Liz Blum, presented with support from Goethe-Institut Boston, in connection with current Mills Gallery exhibition I Dread to Think….
Saturday, January 14 | 3–4:30 pm

The Fear Project: Workshop with Open Theatre Project
in connection with current Mills Gallery exhibition I Dread to Think….
Thursday, February 9 | 6:30–8 pm

I Dread to Think… examines the influence of anxiety, Boston Globe, February 9, 2017

Read the full press release here.

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Fertile Solitude

Fertile Solitude

Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts

October 14–December 18, 2016
Opening Reception Friday, October 14, 6–8pm
Curated by Elizabeth Devlin

ARTISTS Piper Brett, Caleb Cole, Emily Eveleth, Dana Filibert, Cig Harvey, Kyle Hittmeier, Annette Lemieux, Megan and Murray McMillan, Noritaka Minami, Hao Ni, Steven Pestana, Shelley Reed, Erin M. Riley and Sarah Wentworth

Boston, MA—In the rush of everyday life, we occasionally need to hit pause (and reset), but even a moment’s peace can be hard to come by. This frenzy is often furthered by our mutually enabling relationship with technology and a self-inflicted state of constant connectivity. Unwilling to put down our phones to see a sunset, sharing our daily comings and goings with the ghosts in the machine, we self-sabotage our peaceful pursuits and further separate ourselves from ourselves.

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