In 1971, Boston After Dark (the alt-weekly that would eventually become the Boston Phoenix)
investigated a particularly whimsical outburst of art activism: Way
before the days of Banksy, six rogue Boston artists invaded the MFA's
men's room, transforming it into a makeshift gallery. They smuggled in
their own work -- via the "Is that a painting in your pants or are you
just happy to see me?" method -- and converted the lavatory walls into
"the only place in the Museum that exhibits contemporary local art."
Last week, in honor of the 40th anniversary of "Flush with the Walls," Phoenix art critic Greg Cook staged his own guerrilla gallery stunt to
commemorate the milestone, and to raise awareness of Boston's own
neglected art scene. This time, Cook assembled a crack team of 21 local
artists to pull off this caper. Did they succeed? You can read all about
Cook's adventure here. As
for the original "Flush" show: In her 1971 piece, reporter Alicia Faxon
wrote that "the attendance for the show was fantastic. At one time
there were so many notables packed in it was impossible to see the art."
Faxon added, "The irony of the situation was evident when one artist
turned to another and said, ‘Congratulations on your first museum show.'
" Not long after this mischievous masquerade, the MFA hired their first
contemporary art curator.For
this special occasion, we dug deep into our archives and plucked out
the original article. Relive a little piece of Boston art history for