Gallery Night is turning 20, and the monthly citywide bus tour is celebrating with a large group exhibit highlighting all the artists that have helped out over the past two decades, from gallery directors to tour guides. Unfortunately, the exhibit’s taking place at URI Providence, which is surely the most depressing gallery space in town. Partly because it’s a set of disjointed hallways and not actually a gallery, but this time that’s not the biggest problem. The show itself is a mishmash of quality and style, which makes some sense considering the format, but the labeling system is horrendous, pieces are shoved off into any old corners, and the walls are full of chipped paint and nail holes. This is a state institution! I’m pretty sure there is a maintenance staff on hand and probably a bucket of spackle somewhere in the building already. It’s all too bad, since there are actually a handful of good pieces in the show – J Schatz’s paneled stone piece is a nice (if slightly obvious) contrast to the Neal Walsh grid next to it, and I like Beth Braganca Bell’s cross section of a tree stump. The other reason it’s too bad is that I’ve also always kind of liked the gallery night concept, where cheese platters and a sense of adventure goad people into the city’s art spaces.
(The featured image is just one of many examples of the show’s carelessness.)