Mark Favermann


Architecture, design, film and theatre critic/associate editor Mark Favermann, is an urban designer and public artist who over the past two decades has written extensively on art and design. A former Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, he was the first leader of the Boston Visual Artists Union (BVAU), the 1970's Boston activist artists organization, served as the former Director of Visual and Environmental Arts for the City of Boston and has been an adjunct professor at several universities. He was a columnist and/or editor for a large number of prominent publications. His own design work has included creating the award-winning marquee for the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, designing the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, creating the look for the 2000 NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis and the 1999 Ryder Cup as well as the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. For the past eight seasons, he has been a design consultant to the Boston Red Sox. His 2005 public art commission, The Birds of Audubon Circle, was nominated by the Boston Art Commission as one of the best pieces of public art in America. In the Fall of 2007, his Recognition Gateway sculpture was installed in South Brookline.

Recent Articles:

  • A Creative Camelot: The Bauhaus and Harvard Front Page

    100th Anniversary of The Bauhaus

    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 21st, 2019

    Founded shortly after World War I in Germany, the Bauhaus was the most famous and influential avant-garde art and design school in the 20th Century. Its artists, architects, designers craftpersons and students generated a creative, all-encompassing conversation about the nature of architecture, art and design in the modern era. Over the course of its relatively short, 14-year history, Bauhaus was at first located at Weimar, then Dessau, and finally Berlin (closed by order of Nazi Party, 1932). Outside of Germany, Harvard University became the center for all things Bauhaus

  • Cartagena: Conserving Cultural Heritage Front Page

    A 500-year-old Urban Jewel in the Caribbean

    By: Mark Favermann - Sep 03rd, 2018

    The author recently visited Cartagena, Colombia. The city is a 500-year old urban jewel in the Caribbean with a wonderful scaled and visually vibrant Old Town (el Centro Historico). It is a wonderful destination on the western edge of the Caribbean. Planning of Cartagena both in terms of preservation and new development is a challenge, but climate change and rising sea levels is threatening its cultural heritage.

  • Now + There — Reinterpreting Public Art Front Page

    Making the city of Boston An Art City

    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 27th, 2018

    Now+There is the lineal descendant of the Urban Arts Institute. Its mission has expanded to reinforce social justice and environmental concerns with community-involved public art projects. Led by the creative and energetic Kate Gilbert, it works on a variety projects throughout the City of Boston.

  • The Aesthetics of Practical Elegance Front Page

    Objects of Use and Beauty in Japanese Culinary Tools

    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 20th, 2018

    The Fuller Craft Museum is one the few specifically craft museums in the United States. Ranging from the traditional to the high tech, its appealing and thoughtful current exhibit showcases a wonderful assemblage of diverse Japanese utensils and accessories used in domestic as well as professional kitchens.

  • Hugh Ferriss Delineator of Heroic Modern Front Page

    Great Architectural Visionary of the '20s and '30s

    By: Mark Favermann - May 29th, 2018

    Hugh Ferris was a visionary ‘Paper Architect’ who influenced popular culture as well as a generation of architects through his heroic skyscraper renderings and delineation of construction projects. His influence can still be seen in popular culture..

  • Augmented Reality at Boston Cyberarts Gallery Front Page

    Examples of Immersive Aesthetic and Sensual Experimentation

    By: Mark Favermann - May 10th, 2018

    Known for its cutting-edge and often transformative shows about art and technology, Boston Cyberarts has recently presented two inspired gallery exhibitions as well as unconventional outdoor exhibits presenting examples of augmented reality art.

  • London’s Fourth Plinth in Central London Front Page

    The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist Transformative Public Art.

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 28th, 2018

    For the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square, Artist Michael Rakowitz has recreated the Lamassu. This winged bull and protective deity guarded the entrance to Nergal Gate of Nineveh (near modern day Mosul) from 700 BC until it was barbarically destroyed by ISIS in 2015. This wonderful reconstruction is made from recycled packaging from 10,500 empty Iraqi date syrup cans. This represents a once-renowned Iraqi industry now decimated by war. The piece's inscription is written in Cuneiform. Rebuilding the Lamassu in Trafalgar Square means it can continue to guard the people who live, visit and work in London. It is a layered artwork full of myth and tragic reality.

  • Public Art at Boston Fenway's Pierce Boston Tower Front Page

    A Lost Opportunity for Developers, Arquitectonica, and artist Alexandre da Cunha.

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 04th, 2018

    Though somewhat rare in Boston, every attempt at public art is not necessarily a triumph. Unfortunately, the recent commission by Alexandre da Cunha in the Fenway Neighborhood is not great, inspiring or even provocative. Just something to fill a space or a true lost opportunity, the civic and artistic bar needs to be set higher.

  • The Look of PyeongChang Winter Olympics Front Page

    Branding Is Colorful But Not Visually Overwhelming

    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 25th, 2018

    The Olympic Look of the Games is the visual and environmental expression of a particular Olympic Games. At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, the designers not only created a Korean signature, but a more elegant statement of the Winter celebration of athletic achievement.

  • The Pioneering 1960s Art of USCO Front Page

    Looking Back at Early Art and Technology

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 14th, 2018

    When an opportunity to celebrate USCO’s pioneering work came along, I just had to curate it. This acknowledgement of our cultural past, still clearly resonates in our 21st Century present.

  • A Study in Contrast Two Museums in Lisbon Front Page

    National Tile Museum and MAAT Bookend Art and Culture

    By: Mark Favermann - Dec 30th, 2017

    These institutions visually and physically reflected Portuguese art and culture, one embracing the nooks and crannies of history while the other exhibited a vibrant openness to contemporary urbanity.

  • Room With a View and an Elephant Front Page

    RMA’s Soft Thresholds is an Exhibition About Boundaries.

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 29th, 2017

    RMA’s Soft Thresholds is about opening up physical boundaries: an elephant village is one of a number of the firm’s marvelous examples of this commitment. Soft Thresholds: a RMA Architects exhibition in Gund Hall Gallery at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA closed October 15 but left lasting memories. An elephant never forgets.

  • Musical Redemption: Huntington's Merrily We Roll Along Front Page

    Stephen Sondheim Musical Initially Considered a Flop.

    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 07th, 2017

    One of the more obscure of Sondheim's musical, the Huntington Theatre Company's terrific production underscore's its vitality and quality. Director Maria Friedman’s stunning London production of Merrily We Roll Along received universal rave reviews – the most five star reviews in West End history as well as the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Now she has recreated it for Boston audiences. Travelling backwards in time over 20 years in the entertainment business, this musical focuses on the relationships of close friends Franklin, Charley, and Mary, and features some of Sondheim’s most memorable songs, including “Good Thing Going,” “Old Friends,” and “Not a Day Goes By." Seeing the show is like an old friend remembered.

  • Matisse in the Studio at the MFA Front Page

    Collectibles Demonstrate Master Artist's Theatricality

    By: Mark Favermann - May 13th, 2017

    Matisse’s collectibles had a profound influence on his creative choices. Allowing us a priceless opportunity to see how the artist’s mind worked and the ways his creative process unfolded, this magnetic exhibition at the MFA Boston allows us to examine them in relationship to his art. As its only North American venue, Matisse in the Studio will only visit Boston.

  • The Night of the Iguana at ART Front Page

    A Galaxy of Stars Shines on Tennessee Williams Last Classic

    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 01st, 2017

    On the edge of the Mexican jungle, a seedy hotel is the meeting place of several desperate characters. Directed by Michael Wilson (Broadway's The Trip to Bountiful, The Best Man), Williams’ feverishly poetic 1961 drama follows a hotel proprietress and the scandal-soaked Southern preacher who turns up on her veranda. A Nantucket portrait artist traveling with her ancient poet grandfather, a bus of fuming Texan college students and administrators, and a party of German vacationers collide in this drama about how far we travel to outrun the demons within. With a star-studded cast, this production may be the must-see event of the 2016-2017 theatrical season.

  • London’s Design Museum — An Inspiring Experience Front Page

    One of the Major Venues for Experiencing Art of Design

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 23rd, 2017

    London's newly opened Design Museum is the world's leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form from architecture and fashion to graphics, product and industrial design. The Design Museum is now open in its spectacular new location on High Street Kensington. It is now a major venue to visit in London.

  • Ibsen Adaption At Huntington Theatre Front Page

    A Doll's House that Should Not Be Played With

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 20th, 2017

    Nora and Torvald Helmer are living their dream, Now happily married with children and financial security, but previously Nora risked her reputation to save her husband’s life. The consequences test the limits of their love. A new translation by Bryony Lavery of Ibsen’s powerful and groundbreaking classic about marriage, money, and equality shows that in the theatre if it aint broke, don't fix it. Trying to be contemporary and relevant takes skill not just daring.

  • Acybourn's Bedroom Farce At Huntington Theatre Front Page

    A Comedy of Manners, Wit and Whimsey

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 24th, 2016

    When you put 4 couples and 3 bedrooms on one witty night, Alan Ayckbourn creates marital mishegoss with a British accent. Trevor and Susannah, with their marriage on the rocks, invade the bedrooms of their family and friends over the course of an evening, spreading chaos in their wake. Director Maria Aitken (The 39 Steps, Private Lives) returns to the Huntington Theatre for this light comedy of marital misunderstandings.

  • Tiger Style Purrs At Huntington Front Page

    Chinese-American Play Promises More Than It Delivers

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 04th, 2016

    Squabbling siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen attained academic achievement. But as adults, they’re socially awkward depressed failures: he’s just been passed up for promotion and she’s been dumped by her loser boyfriend. So pivoting to the West and the East, they confront their Tiger parents and launch an Asian Freedom Tour! From California to China and back, this new comedy examines race, parenting, and success.

  • Philip Roth’s Books Return Home Front Page

    Distinguished Author Gifts Newark Public Library

    By: George Abbott White - Nov 03rd, 2016

    New Jersey-born Philip Roth has donated his personal library to the safe space home away from home of his childhood. With this gift, he has completed the circle of his intellectual and literary life. The Newark Public Library (built in 1901) is a great temple of literature based upon Florentine Palacio. According to George Abbott White, Roth has added to library's glory.

  • Sunday in the Park Stunning at Huntington Front Page

    Sondheim and Seurat Bring Out the Best in Each Other

    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 06th, 2016

    Stephen Sondheim’s stunning masterpiece centers on enigmatic painter Georges Seurat and his obssession with “the art of making art.” Certainly, one of the most acclaimed musicals ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner features a glorious score, with the songs “Finishing the Hat,” “Putting it Together,” and “Move On,” and is directed by Artistic Director Peter DuBois who did a superb job with last year's A Little Night Music.

  • Artwashing: Gentrification or Cultural Enrichment? Front Page

    Aiding Derelict Neighborhoods or Abetting Social Inequity

    By: Mark Favermann - Aug 11th, 2016

    For the anti-gentrification critics, urban deterioration should be left the way it is rather than reverse it through the introduction of art galleries, performance spaces, work/live lofts, and museums. This is an issue wrapped in controversy that underscores progress while perhaps marginalizing impoverished residents and pioneering artists. It is hard to determine if everyone is right or everyone is wrong.

  • "Rodin — Transforming Sculpture” Peabody Essex Museum Front Page

    Human Form Shaped With Emotional and Psychological Complexity

    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 21st, 2016

    Rodin was the first truly "modern" sculptor. His work was an evolving process in creating figurative pieces that expressed and integrated emotional, psychological and even spiritual notions of humanity. Rodin sometimes mixed, recycled,, and re-combined used “spare parts”: plaster-cast heads, torsos, arms, and legs. His mix-and-match sensibility was the inevitable result of his deep belief that art is always in transition, never complete. And these hybrid assemblages were put together in ways that are intended to evoke passion and reaction. This PEM show is a visual treat.

  • Huntington Theatre Company Gets A Reprieve Front Page

    Theatre To Stay Put on Avenue of the Arts

    By: Mark Favermann/Desiree Berry - Jun 09th, 2016

    After Boston University decided to sell the building in which the Huntington Theatre Company has had its lovely theatre last Fall, there was a great deal of agita and even grief as to what would become of the Huntington. Would the theatre company have to relocate? Would the large structure be torn down for expensive condos? Could the City of Boston help find a development/real estate partner? Like a Deus Ex Machina, Good News has arrived with a happy ending.

  • Can You Forgive Her At Huntington Theatre Front Page

    A Social Comedy About Making Mistakes at the Calderwood

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 12th, 2016

    On Halloween night, various individuals are weighing their life questions and answers. Sparky Miranda is desperate for a way out of her situation. She’s up to her neck in debt, she might be actually falling for the man who pays her bills, and now her week-end date has threatened to kill her. A seemingly sweet stranger offers shelter and a drink. Where will the night end? With dark humor, two-time Pulitzer finalist Gina Gionfriddo presents complicated and somewhat incomplete characters wrestling with love, money, and their past. This sometimes awkward show is about people making strategically bad life choices and mostly talking about it. Using contemporary themes roughly juxtaposed, the playwright uncomfortably lays out no easy answers.

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