More Text-Based Public Art Comes to the Greenway

A new work by Matthew Hoffman will stretch out longer than a football field.

matthew hoffman art rose kennedy greenway

Rendering by Matthew Hoffman, courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

After a vibrant year of art offerings—a five-day dance party and the unforgettable aerial sculpture by Janet Echelman, to name a couple—the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy is forging ahead, with installation underway for its first public art project of 2016.

Today and tomorrow, public art curator Lucas Cowan joins Chicago-based artist and designer Matthew Hoffman in installing his new work, titled “May This Never End,” along the fence at P12, an unfinished site on the northern side of the Greenway near Faneuil Hall. Although temporary, it will remain on view throughout 2016.

The artwork, which at four feet wide and 319 feet long stretches farther than the length of a football field (excluding the end zones), presents a textual narrative fashioned from bright yellow high-density polyethylene.

It reads: Nothing’s for keeps. Except that we must keep going. You’ll spend your entire life searching, ok? We all want to belong. So let’s all get along. Make the most, and hope. May this never end.

Cowan hopes that the message will offer a dose of inspiration to passersby.

“Matthew’s work is very accessible, with each of us able to connect to his work in a meaningful way,” he says in a press release. “I think everyone at some point in their lives needs a little encouragement, and this Greenway installation allows the viewer to happen upon Matthew’s sincere messages in a surprising way.”

Hoffman is known for the uplifting nature of his works. His ongoing project “You Are Beautiful” encompasses both massive installations and small stickers that have now been circulated around the world, carrying on a message of affirmation with just three words.

“I like presenting an idea and seeing it where it goes,” he says. “I hope that the phrases elicit ideas or feelings that give the viewer an experience.”

Hoffman’s work in Boston joins another text-based work on the Greenway—”A Translation from One Language to Another,” a mural by Lawrence Weiner. The trend can also be seen across town, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which earlier this week installed “What Do You Really Want?” a façade artwork by Rachel Perry Welty that presents viewers with an open-ended question pulled from the subject line of a spam email.

On the Greenway, Cowan hopes to present programming and events that will encourage participation with both the Hoffman and Weiner works.

“Instead of looking at an object and moving on, these messages become something we internalize and continue to apply to our state of being,” he says. “The artwork becomes a personal internal reflection opposed to an object that is meant to exist solely in space.”