DeCordova Presents Downtown Public Art Project by Jeannie Simms in Partnership with Boston City Hall


DeCordova is pleased to present a new public art installation in partnership with Boston City Hall. Under the Sun by Boston-based artist Jeannie Simms, which features two large-scale photographic panels, is on view now in Boston City Hall’s Main Atrium through October 5.

Under the Sun was created by Simms in 2017 in the Italian town of Sant’Alessio in Aspromonte. With active support from the Mayor, Stefano Ioli Calabrò, the artist worked with local inhabitants and immigrants on two participatory cyanotypes (cyan-blue cameraless photographs). The community foraged abandoned residences for objects that reminded them of the concept of “home.” With Simms, they arranged them on huge photosensitive cotton sheets and exposed them to the sunlight. The results are images of ghostly domestic objects that seem to float in a sea of blue, evoking the displacement endured by immigrants fleeing their homes.

Martina Tanga, deCordova’s Koch Curatorial Fellow, organized this project and states, “Jeannie’s interests in language, labor, citizenship, and migration are all brought together in this project. The title metaphorically links us all—immigrants and non-immigrants—under one sun, and also highlights the dangerous sea journeys many migrants face in search for a safer home. Siting this work at City Hall brings these questions directly to a place of government, administration, and decision making, where policies can be rewritten and changes can happen.”

Kara Elliott-Ortega, interim Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, affirms that "The City of Boston is committed to recognizing, celebrating, and protecting immigrants. Under the Sun is a fantastic way for us to continue this public dialog with through visual art that makes the most of public space in City Hall."

Simms’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Alternative Film Center, Belgrade, Serbia; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), L.A.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and SF Camerawork, San Francisco. Her work has been funded by Art Matters, the Cambridge Arts Council, and a Daynard Faculty Travel Fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston. Simms is the Director of Graduate Studies at the SMFA at Tufts University.

This project is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring guest curators from Greater Boston's leading cultural organizations—such as the MIT List and the MFA, Boston—at Boston City Hall, as part of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan. Funding for the exhibition is provided by Boston City Hall.

This is the second downtown public art project deCordova has co-presented this year. In May, deCordova partnered with The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy on a large-scale outdoor mural by artist Shara Hughes, which is on view through next spring.  

Opening Reception with Artist Jeannie Simms
Friday, September 14, 4–5:30 pm
Boston City Hall, Main Atrium
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA

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