Community Spotlight: Art Installation with Jonathan Stangroom

April 19, 2022

We always feel so lucky to be part of the art scene in Boston. The city is simultaneously intimate and large enough that there are always new things happening, and the community is no different. As a small business in this particular art scene, we often rely on a network of people outside of our immediate team to collaborate on projects and produce exciting new exhibitions.


When it comes to delivering artwork to local collectors, installing our rotating exhibitions, or assisting us with the behind-the-scenes tasks, we have repeatedly turned to two incredible freelance art handlers: Jonathan Stangroom and Ibrahim Ali-Salaam. Today we will highlight Jonathan, who I personally met through my mentor Meredyth Moses, she too worked with Jonathan during her time as a gallerist. We often get compliments about our beautiful white walls - Jonathan and his team painted the gallery when it was first built!



Abigail Ogilvy: How did you come to be an art handler?

Jonathan Stangroom: In the mid-eighties I had been painting houses. I had friends with gallery representation and they recommended me for installing their work.

I got invited back to install for other artists. I figured it was fairly clean way to make a living and the gallerists would see me regularly and might consider seeing and showing my work. (That's sort of worked over the years.)


Jonathan in his studio (Image courtesy of the artist).


AO: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

JS: It's always nice to hang a show of good work. The galleries that I work for have terrific artists. My corporate clients have good, solid collections. My residential clients can occasionally have a surprise or two.

AO: What is your favorite piece of art that you've handled?

JS: A good question. I'm looking at the back of the artwork most of the time. This past year I moved a large collection of "Outsider" art for a friend's parents. There were several gems in that. (I'm a fan of "Outsider" art.)


AO: Can you talk a little more about your own personal art practice?

Jonathan Stangroom, Little Hotel on the Prairie, 2018. Oil on wood, tree cross section. 14 x 9 in.


JS: I'm a painter and a mail artist. Painter is easy. I paint stylized landscapes. Taking notes from "Rocky and Bullwinkle"/"Dudley Do-Right" and other cartoons. Monopoly houses populate these landscapes. Mail Artist is a bit more difficult. At present my everyday project is to send a post card documenting the change that I've found. The postcards are rubber-stamped and sent daily, (inspired by On Kawara who sent postcards documenting when he woke up). I have a list of about 200 correspondents who I send to in rotation. In the past I made direct image photocopies (putting objects on the platen, sometimes manipulating them during the copying process. I had a show of them in Hungary about 1992, we had a copier at the opening and copied everybody and everything in the place.

AO: What artists inspire you in your own artistic practice?

JS: I've already mentioned On Kawara. I love Indian miniatures, (I lived in India for a year in the 80's). As I said earlier, I'm a fan of "Outsider Art". "The Group of Seven" and Greg Curnoe from Canada are favorites. Philip Guston, William T. Wiley, Jim Nutt and all of the Chicago Imagists, H.C. Westermann (primarily a sculptor but I love the work), Fluxus artists. I look a lot. I paint like none of these.

AO: What do you do for fun?

JS: Oh boy... I've been known to enjoy a pint of Guinness at the Plough & Stars in Cambridge. I like BritComs and Melissa and I binge watch old series. I don't eat much, but like to eat well, (we cook). When I travel I visit museums. I like to walk.



Thank you Jonathan for being a part of our gallery team for almost seven years now! Looking to hire an art installer? Here is how to get in touch:


Check back soon for a feature on Ibrahim Ali-Salaam.

About the author

Abigail Ogilvy

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