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Our Picks by BAR Editorial
Top row, left to right: Project Paulie, Bob Oppenheim, Emily Auchincloss, Karla DeStefano, MIT List Center, Designing Motherhood. Middle row, left to right: Jeffrey Gibson at the ICA/Boston, Brett Angell, Mythsooka, Maria Molteni, Anukriti and Jasper A. Sanchez, Julia Emiliani. Last row, left to right: Boston Art Review, Soyoung L. Kim, Golden, Maya Alia (top) and Emily Auchincloss (bottom), Ayana Mack, Snake Hair Press.
It’s the most wonderful time of year to shop local and shower your loved ones with art. The BAR editors have compiled some of our favorite shops and makers to help you avoid the big-box stores this holiday season and support the work of artists right here in Massachusetts. Check out our non-exhaustive list of artist projects, pop-up shops, holiday sales, and curious treasures to consider. From paintings to potions, we’ve got everyone on your list covered.
And we might be biased, but we think the gift of BAR is the greatest gift of all!
Order a subscription before December 15 and we’ll send our latest issue along with a note about your recipient’s new subscription. Complete the gift with the stylish and extremely functional everyday tote (yes, it comfortably fits a laptop!) $20.00–$36.00, available at bostonartreview.com
Something Sporty and Mythical by Maria Molteni: Head to the magical realm that is Maria Molteni’s website to find surprises galore. From bespoke basketballs to zines containing rituals for the digital age, there’s something for everyone, no matter what their pleasure. For an extra memorable experience, grab a gift card for a special siren reading session with Maria. $4.00–$350.00 at Maria Molteni Studio’s Online Store.
A Treat for Your Walls from Julia Emiliani: We’ve had the pleasure of working with artist Julia Emiliani for several illustrations in recent issues of BAR. This holiday season, she’s selling small prints for $10–$20, sweet stickers, and original works on paper and canvas for under $200. $4.00–$675.00, available at Julia Emiliani’s online shop.
Intimate Abstractions from Soyoung L. Kim: Don’t miss your chance to score a piece from multidisciplinary artist Soyoung L. Kim—like a lush mixed-media work or a print of a surrealist collage—as part of her end-of-year sale. $25.00–$450.00, available online from Soyoung L Kim.
Aluminum Prints by the Artists for Humanity Teens: Grab a ready-to-hang work of art made by a local teen. Printed on a high-gloss aluminum plate, these photographs and collages come with a float mount already affixed for easy installation. $45.00, available at Artists for Humanity.
Artistic Apparel by Mythsooka: It’s not the first time this season that Mythsooka’s wearables have found their way onto a BAR recommendation list. The empowered figures, phrases, and colors you’ve seen in their murals and installations can be worn on sweatshirts and tees. $28–$68 online.
Woven Wonders by Emily Auchincloss: You can hang them on the wall or on your ears! In addition to offering her playful and intimate weavings, Boston-based artist Emily Auchincloss has recently started selling earrings made from the leftover remnants of her practice. Find the weavings online for $50.00–$140.00 and the earrings on Instagram for $45.00–$85.00.
For the Eternal Optimist: The bright, hopeful banners of Issue 09 cover star Andy Li are still available as part of Howard Yezerski Gallery’s online holiday shop, along with the meditative geometric paintings of fellow Bostonian Bob Oppenheim. $250.00–$350.00, available online at Howard Yezerski Gallery.
For the Philanthropic Fine Art Lover: On Beacon Gallery’s 2022 online gift guide, you can find signed limited-edition prints of Hiraeth by Mohamad Hafez, a depiction of one of the artist’s celebrated architectural sculptures exploring loss and displacement. The proceeds of the prints will go directly to local activist Leslie Meral Schick to support her refugee work in Greece. Also on offer are paintings and hand-cut-paper works by Boston-area artists Nedret Andre, Nicci Sevier-Vuyk, and Malcolm Montague Davis. $250.00, available online at Beacon Gallery.
For the Curious Collector: Intricately repurposed cigarette boxes by Boston-based artist Brett Angell are sure to bring whimsy and wonder to any cabinet of curiosities. $175.00, available at the Praise Shadows art shop. (While the IRL storefront is temporarily closed for utility maintenance, folks who want to pick up goods in Brookline can stop by the gallery.)
For the Personal-Library Builder: 2022 was a great year for great shows at great institutions—and that means great catalogs. Here are a few that we particularly enjoyed: To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood by the ICA/Boston; Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere by the MIT List Visual Arts Center; Frank Bowling’s Americas by the MFA Boston; Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love by the Peabody Essex Museum; and Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births, which was on view at MassArt Art Museum. While not technically a catalog, Punk Orientalism: The Art of Rebellion is a terrific companion piece to the show “The Sun Rises in the West and Sets in the East” at Tufts University Art Galleries.
For the Eat-Sleep-Breathe-Design Nerd: We’d recommend stopping inside Katherine Small Gallery to find the perfect gift for the print lover in your life. This tucked-away Somerville storefront boasts an impressive collection of books about design, typography, and art. The online shop is well-designed, too. Prices variable, available at Katherine Small Gallery.
For the Armchair Globetrotter: We might be a year late on this one, but Rania Matar’s latest book is truly timeless. Born in Lebanon and now based in Boston, Matar has spent decades capturing images of girls and women from around the world. She focuses specifically on young women from the Middle East and the US, drawing parallels across the globe. $60 from Radius Books.
For the One Who Drops Their R’s: Give the gift of hometown pride with the Clementine bandana, a collaboration between Quincy-based artist Clementine Regan and Project Paulie, a pandemic-era-lasagna-donation-situation-turned-art-merch-shop that feeds the community by supporting local organizations. You can also never go wrong with one of their tomato beanies where 20% of the sale goes toward supporting a great cause. $11.00–$41.00, available from Project Paulie.
For the Chic Friend: Grab a pair of minimalist earrings by local artist Maya Alia for the friend who loves to look fabulous, but keep things versatile. The jewelry is reminiscent of single-line abstract art and offers a modern flair that never goes out of style. We love the ear jacket earrings that can be paired with a stud you already own. $20.00–$25.00, available at shopairi.com.
For the Art Acolyte: Artist Anukriti and curator Jasper A. Sanchez released the queer prayer book The Book of Being on the occasion of their show “A Temple for Timeless Beasts” at the Boston Center for the Arts earlier this year. It’s illustrated by Sienna Kwami, and all proceeds from the book go directly to its contributors. $15.00, available from blurb.com.
For the Eco-Friendly Decorator: Based on the Cape, Franky and J.’s Karla DeStefano creates home goods like bowls, vases, and even pendant lamps from recycled paper pulp. Her designs range from delicate to funky and are sure to bring an element of the organic into the room. $18.00–$135.00, available at Franky and J Designs.
For the Give-Me-All-the-Color Kid: The ICA Store is a treasure trove of goodies, but we’re especially excited about the limited-edition sticker set they have on offer by Issue 07 artist Jeffrey Gibson. Gibson’s riotous odes to his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage have been shrunk down into three vibrant sticker sheets so pretty your giftee will have a hard time peeling them off for their laptop, water bottle, skateboard, or trapper-keeper. Even better—proceeds support the Soul of Nations Foundation. $50.00 at the ICA Store.
For the Longform Fan: While these days we can take notes on our computers, phones, or even our watches, there’s nothing like writing something out by hand. It’s a luxury that needs a notebook to match, and you can’t get better than a journal by Issue 06 artist Ayana Mack. From painterly portraits to simple and graphic, there’s a cover for everyone on your list. $26.00, available direct from Ayana online.
For the Soul Searcher: Earlier this year, Issue 09 artist Golden released A Dead Name That Learned How to Live, a book of poetry and self-portrait photography that explores their experiences as a queer Black artist. Readers be warned: this book will wreck you, lift you up, humble you, and inspire you. $20.00, available at Game Over Books.
For Lovers of Rituals and Risographs: Whether you’re seeking a spell or a poem, Snake Hair Press has hand-printed books, zines, artworks, and objects for lovers of the occult and haters of the patriarchy. Looking for a way to combine both? Their herbal soaks were cosmically crafted to cleanse, manifest, or transform and come with an accompanying zine. And for the real adventurous print-lover, you can purchase a pre-recorded printmaking workshop led by Snake Hair Press founder Vin Caponigro. $3.00–$40.00, available at Snake Hair Press.
SoWa Winter Festival: December 7–11, various times, SoWa Power Station, 550 Harrison Ave., Boston
Harvard Ceramics Program Winter Sale: December 8–11, 10:00 am–7:00 pm, 224 Western Avenue, Allston.
Cambridge Arts’ Holiday Art Market: December 8–10, 11:00 am–6:00 pm, Harvard University’s Smith Center Arcade, 1350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Humphreys Street Studios: December 10–11, 11:00 am–5:00 pm, 11–13 Humphreys St., Boston
Black Market Nubian Square: December 10, 17, and 24, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm, Black Market, 2136 Washington St., Boston
The Brighton Bazaar: Holiday Edition: December 11, 11:00 am–5:00 pm, Roadrunner, 89 Guest St., Boston
Small Mart Holiday Market: December 17, 11:00 am–4:00 pm, Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville
Somerville Flea Holiday Market: December 18, 10:00 am–5:00 pm, Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville
Allston-Brighton Winter Market: Now through December 2022, Virtual
CraftBoston Holiday: Now through Jan. 8, 2023, Virtual