Greg Cook Photo
Greg Cook will exhibit his photos of Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta in the front window of Mystery Train, 21 Main St., Gloucester, from June 23 to July 3, 2011. Cook will be present at a 30-minute exhibition reception that will be held in front of the store window a half hour after the conclusion of the greasy pole contest on Saturday, June 25. So somewhere around 7 or 7:30 Saturday night.
This small exhibit, in the window where the St. Peter’s statue was displayed for many years, features Fiesta highlights from the past three years—from greasy pole walkers to the procession of statues and icons of saints through downtown Gloucester, from seine boat races to a pie eating contest. Over 15 years of photographing the St. Peter’s Fiesta, Cook has taken his camera onto the greasy pole platform and into seine boats, followed greasy pole champions as they were carried up Pavilion Beach and stood next to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Holy Family Church as he blessed the procession. His photos of St. Peter’s Fiesta are a comprehensive and intimate account of Gloucester’s great summer ritual.
Cook’s photos can be seen at gregcookland.com. In addition to St. Peter’s Fiesta, Cook has spent years photographing community-building spectacles across the region—Chinese New Year Lion Dances in Boston, the Honk Parade of radical marching bands in Somerville, the Festival Betances greased pole climbing contest (vertical versus Gloucester’s horizontal one) in Boston, the monster costumes of the Mirabal Carnival Dancers in Lawrence, St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, and the Boston Caribbean Carnival. A selection of his photos of Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont from the past three years appeared in the June 2011 issue of the national art magazine Juxtapoz.
Cook lived in Gloucester for 11 years, including a stint reporting for The Gloucester Daily Times, before moving into Boston to write for The Boston Phoenix. He now lives in Malden. He organized a guerrilla exhibit of 21 artists and collectives at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts on June 15, 2011, that was reported widely, including on WBUR radio, the Boston Globe, GoodMorningGloucester, and, nationally, on the front page of the Huffington Post. Cook is the founding editor of The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research (which won a 2009 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant), an award-winning cartoonist (his comics have been published in Nickelodeon Magazine, Publishers Weekly, The Believer and many other places), and founder of The New England Art Awards, a regional open-source contest supporting art created here.