AnonyMouse, Yenny Hernandez Dress Boston with Art – WWD

THE ART OF MATTER: Art and commerce are well-entrenched in shopping in some places. British artist Rosie McGinn’s blow-up dolls adorn Balenciaga’s Midtown Manhattan store, and Derrick Adams’ Funtime Unicorns can be found in and around the packed Rockefeller Center.

This summer, shoppers and pedestrians in Boston should keep their eyes peeled beyond Brooks Bros. closing its 80-year-old store on Newbury Street or renovating the former Lord & Taylor on Boylston Street into a Dick’s sporting goods store. Two radically different installations can be found in areas of the city.

In an unexpected alliance, WS Development hired Sweden-based artist collective AnonyMouse to create some of its signature miniature installations in and around Boston among the developer’s properties. In an email exchange, Jascha Muskewitz said the group was a “loosely connected network of mice and men” who didn’t want the focus to be on them. And the base changes from one project to the next depending on the skills that are needed.

AnonyMouse started making street art for kids and is happy to continue making public art for kids when the right situation arises. Their inch-high Mouseachusetts streetscapes include the Massachusetts Mouseum of Fine Art and other shops like Whiskers & Tail that offer alterations, repairs and formal rentals. The 10 miniature structures can be found on five WS properties, including the dense shopping district of Boston Harbor and The Street Chestnut Hill in nearby Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. “We’re not really interested in the commercial aspect of it. We don’t promote a particular store or brand,” Mauskewitz said.

AnonyMouse had no reservations about doing such a commercial project or followers seeing the collective as a sellout. Noting how WS Development has worked with contemporary artists in the past, the group felt the alliance was a good fit.

“We don’t want our installations to sell anything. We’re a bit stubborn about letting art be art. And they let us do it. We are happy to make public art and always focus on bringing something whimsical to an otherwise forgotten part of the street,” Muskewitz said.

An installation by Swedish art collective AnonyMouse in Boston.

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Keeping their identities secret reinforces “the idea that we can be whatever the observer wants us to be. Also, kids can believe it’s built by mice if it doesn’t have a human face on it,” explained one of the artists. “We don’t want the focus to be on us; we want it to feel real.”

Another artistic effort in Boston this summer is definitely not to be missed. Yeni Hernandez has decorated the Prudential Center’s Boylston Street entrance with a vibrant tropical mural. The Latina, who quit her job as a full-time graphic artist at Northeastern University in January to focus on art, was selected by the nonprofit Now + There for the public art project.

Up until mid-October and near an Under Armor store, the 2,500-square-foot piece is made with glass decals that include flowers, a mango, a parrot, a traditional “cafeteria” coffee machine and a line from a poem that her mother wrote about her as a child ” Let your dreams fly.” Positivity and encouragement are recurring themes in her work and the installation is no exception. It also includes images that can be understood by members of the Hispanic community. Set in a heavily trafficked area, the piece aims to convey a message for everyone to enjoy and is written in English and Spanish.

As for the role that shops and public spaces have in introducing new artists and awakening people’s interest in art, Hernandez said, “There’s something special when a commercial space engages in public art. People do not expect to see public art in such areas, including those where they go about their daily lives. That’s why it’s special. It has that element of surprise. You go around your life and come across something that can motivate you or engage your thoughts. It’s really important and strong when commercial buildings and public spaces can intersect.”

The artist was pleased to see upon discovery that the mural did not require much explanation. “One of the things I set out to do was to create a moment of happiness and color. When you walk into the space, you’re greeted with the feeling of, ‘Oh, something good is happening here,'” she said. “I want people to have a moment of encouragement and reflection: What is your dream? How do you pursue him?’

Mural by Yeni Hernadez.

Mural by Yenny Hernadez on the exterior of the Boylston Street entrance to the Prudential Center in Boston.


Although the mural has only been up since earlier this month, Hernandez said several small businesses and shops have already approached her about possibly working together. Talks are underway to showcase her work at Columbia next month. Currently not represented by a gallery, Hernandez relies on social media as her biggest platform with @Yennycreate on Instagram where she creates, shares her work and engages with colleagues and potential clients.

Boston Properties executives did not respond to a request for comment.

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