A Life In
My dad, Dr. Charles E. Giuliano, was a surgeon with many talents. He could sing, play instruments, cook and was a prolific landscape painter. He married a doctor, my mom Dr, Josephine Rita Flynn.
It was a given that I would follow in the family business.
At the end of my freshman year at Brandeis University I flunked chemistry and got an A in studio art. Based on the obvious I announced that I would not pursue pre med and would instead major in art.
That infuriated dad. It was summer in Annisquam. He dragged me into the back yard, ripped off our shirts and proceeded to knock some bare knuckle sense into me. Mom and my sisters intervened and we sat for a family council.
It was decided that I would be a fine arts major and that beyond college Dad would essentially disown me.
Largely as an act of singular defiance I was determined to become an artist. That proved to be complicated. By policy, studio majors were required to minor in art history. The professors were brilliant and their courses fascinating.
As Creighton E. Gilbert, a renowned Renaissance scholar advised me “If you want to be an artist, study art history.”
That led to a diverse career as an arts journalist and critic, gallerist, curator, photographer, and professor of humanities and art history.
A Fork In The Road
Often as my career developed I followed the advice of the great American philosopher Yogi Berra. “When you come to the fork in the road take it.”
Nothing went according to plan or training but there was an array of enticing opportunities.
Falling by my Lower East Side storefront studio my friend Jim Jacobs had a gift of an old Remington upright typewriter. Soon after I was invited to contribute to 57th Street Review and Arts Magazine. I became New York correspondent for Boston’s Avatar.
In the summer of 1968 after an aborted trip to Mexico, which ended in New Orleans, Arden Harrison and I ended up in Fort Hill, Roxbury. We went to work for Avatar paying the rent by selling the rag in Harvard Square.
There was a blowup with the Mel Lyman cult and with David Wilson we took over Avatar. By fall he returned as editor of Broadside and I got a job with Boston After Dark which later evolved into the Boston Phoenix. I reported to Arnie Reisman my former Brandeis Justice editor. Covering the emerging Boston art world I had a column called Art Bag.
When Timothy Crouse departed the Boston Herald Traveler for Rolling Stone he recommended that I replace him as “Popular Music Critic.” In addition to rock I pursued a passion of jazz, blues and soul music. Mom told me that dad read my reviews.
When the Herald imploded I went on to years as a freelance writer for Art New England, Art News, The Patriot Ledger and numerous music publications and weeklies. By then I was photographing the artists I covered.
The Art World
While I covered music by gut instinct my primary training was in studio practice and art history.
My first job after college was in the Egyptian Department of the Museum of Fine Arts.
I walked into the office of the director, Perry T. Rathbone, and told his secretary that I was applying for a job.
“Janitors and custodians apply in the basement,” she told me.
“Actually, I’m interested in a curatorial position” I told her.
There was a bit of an argument but the concession that she would not object (call the cops) if I spoke to a curator.
Mary Cairns, the secretary to Dr. William Stevenson Smith a renowned Egyptologist, made a fuss. She demanded that I leave. “We get nuts like you all the time” she said angrily.
From his office Dr. Smith called out “Mary, what seems to be the matter?”
“This young man wants a job with us” she stated with dismay.
He found that interesting and called me into his office for a chat. Soon after I started what proved to be two and a half years in the basement. I began by sweeping eight barrels of dust, painting the basement, and cleaning all the objects. Conservator Bill Young taught me how to restore stone vessels. From cases of shards I created a collection of rare and priceless Old Kingdom Objects.
I rose from the basement to cover it for many years. That culminated in my book Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Oral History: 1870 to 2010. A similar book on the Institute of Contemporary Art and art in Boston is in the works.
From Then To Now
In pursuing a life in the arts, initially cursed by my father, there were many forks in the road and paths less followed. This remarkable website, designed and mentored by Michael McGrath, lays out examples of its richness and diversity.
In 2006 Astrid Hiemer and I retired and moved to the Berkshires where we launched and edit Berkshire Fine Arts. For many years Astrid worked as an administrator for Otto Piene and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.
We continue to cover the arts and pursue creative projects. A number of images in this website have been shown at Gallery 51 of MCLA and Real Eyes Gallery. In the summer of 2022 Astrid’s Baskets and Bowls project has been on view at Berkshire Art Museum in North Adams.
Born October 25, 1940, in Brooklyn, NY. Family moved to Brookline, MA, keeping with the “Brook” theme. Attended Mt. Alvernia Academy, Chestnut Hill, a Catholic school run by Franciscan nuns.
Summered in Annisquam, where my time was filled with tennis and sailing. Moved on to Boston Latin School and graduated in 1959.
Brandeis University, Class of 1963. In the fall after graduating, joined the Department of Egyptian Art of the Museum of Fine Arts as an intern for conservation. Various writing gigs and some curations followed.
Coined the word “gonzo” in print, and I can prove it. After serving as the jazz and rock critic for the Boston Herald Traveler for a little over a year, I studied American art and architecture at Boston University, completing all Ph.D. requirements except for a dissertation and earning a master’s degree in 1978.
1980s – 90s
Subscribing to the belief that the best way to learn something is to teach it, I taught at New England School of Art & Design, Boston University, U. Mass Lowell, U. Mass. Boston, Framingham State College, Salem State College, Clark University, Mount Ida College and Dean College.
Bought a three-decker in Jeffrey’s Point, East Boston. Established Maverick Arts Gallery and the website Maverick Arts.com. Married the arts administrator, writer and editor, Astrid Hiemer. The ceremony took place in the back yard of 82 Webster Street under the apple tree. With Astrid traveled to England, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Shanghai and Senegal. As a curator/ critic invited to Vienna, Montreal, Quebec City, Paraza, France, and Portugal.
Retired, sort of. The birth of Berkshire Fine Arts, pulled me out of retirement, and I became editor and publisher of the website, filling it with the writings of numerous national and international arts correspondents.
2014 – 2021
Seven (7) books written and published, including oral histories and books of poetry. www.Giulianobooks.com was launched to publicize and promote them. An 8th book will follow.
Selected for inclusion in the annual Marquis publication “Who’s Who in America.”