Panopticon Gallery is closing at the end of April. Gallery owner Jason Landry announced the gallery space inside the Hotel Commonwealth will be transferred to a new tenant on May 1.
Landry has decided that he wants to focus on other ventures, including his job at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he serves as director of the MFA in Photography program.
Panopticon Gallery was established in 1971 and Landry has been running it since 2010. Its final exhibition, “Celebrity in Boston 1976-1996,” features the work of photographer Roger Farrington. On display are black and white silver gelatin prints of stars such as Andy Warhol, Alec Baldwin, Cher, Joan Collins, Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Harvey Fierstein, Dennis Hopper, Stephen King, Cyndi Lauper, Jay Leno, Yoko Ono, Richard Pryor, Brooke Shields, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Christopher Walken, among many others.
“It’s doubly sad that my exhibition is Jason’s last at the gallery, but without him and co-curator Jim Fitts, these images would still be collecting dust,” said Farrington.
Farrington will be at the Panopticon Gallery on March 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. to talk about the pictures and answer visitors’ questions.
Behind each image is a story.
Farrington recalled that when he photographed Collins in 1984, she was a huge star on “Dynasty” and he went to Logan Airport to shoot her arrival.
“I heard that she had insisted on only two photographers at the airport, but there were probably 20 along with several TV crews,” he said. “She led her entourage very quickly from her arrival gate to the limo and was a total pro — giving each camera direct eye contact and great smiles. When she arrived at the nightclub (Nine Lansdowne) a few hours later she was fully made up like her character, Alexis, in ‘Dynasty’ . . . and this is the shot that’s in the show.”
Farrington had a distinctly different experience when he showed up at the WBCN studio to shoot punk rocker Wendy O. Williams.
“Her thing was to smash TVs with a sledge hammer,” he said. “I had no idea that she also hated photographers. She walked into the studio, saw my camera, and bolted right towards me. Mark Parenteau jumped from his chair and grabbed her . . . his arms completely around her . . . to stop her from hitting me. It was not a stunt!”
Williams is not featured in the show, but Collins and plenty of other familiar faces are. Farrington’s exhibit will run through April 30.
As far as the future of the gallery space goes, Landry says the new tenant is a familiar face from Boston’s photography scene, and described the transfer as a “win-win.”