Now (Boston Massacre, Boston, Massachusetts) 23-05
Dimensions: image: 22 in. x 21 7/8 in. (55.9 x 55.6 cm)
sheet: 23 7/8 x 24 in. (60.6 x 61 cm)
mat: 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm)
Medium: gelatin silver print
Credit Line: Gift of Andrea Hohf in honor of Gregg Stover
Label Text: I have come to understand that…events can—and do—become geography.
Images in Alan Cohen’s Now series focus on the topographical evidence of history and political acts, scars just faintly visible under the bustle of our contemporary lives. The power of Alan Cohen’s solemn images relies on viewers drawing upon knowledge of the historical context referenced in the title. Thirteen concentric cobblestone circles modestly mark the site of the Boston Massacre, an incident in 1770 that helped galvanize discontents leading to the Revolutionary War. These first fatalities inflamed many colonists in favor of American liberty. In Alan Cohen’s photograph, the stones, laid in 1880, have become surrounded by a small island of pavement within a busy downtown intersection.
The abstract close-ups in Now show the influence of Cohen’s teacher, Aaron Siskind (also on view). In 1969, Cohen abandoned his doctoral program in thermodynamics at Northwestern University to study photography with Siskind at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
Object Number: 2013.68
Currently not on view