Bernard Toale Gallery 1999-2008

Examples of Exhibits




Bureau for Open Culture

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David Ording , After, 2005–07 oil on canvas, 7 x 10 feet courtesy of the artist and Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston --



Installation at Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, 2007.

All the Embarrassing Books (from Home-Decor Magazines) is part of the permanent collection at The McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

All the Embarrassing Books (from Home-Decor Magazines), 2007

All the Embarrassing Books (from Home-Decor Magazines) are re-photographed details of bookcases in home-improvement and décor websites and magazines that have their books turned spine in. Only someone who is deeply embarrassed by the content of his or her books would turn them around this way – or, perhaps, these books have turned themselves this way because they are embarrassed by their owners. In the never-ending variety of perfectly appointed, vapidly flawless rooms in these virtual spaces, this refusal of content actually makes sense. Subservient to the decorative, these books have become nutrition-less, emptied of purpose and content, and erased of meaning - a sedated empty exchange which produces a valueless object from the apparition of an object of value.


Just loved this show. Serendipitously met a friend there who was considering opening an online store that would sell round dog beds exclusively. "Why round dog beds?" I asked. I should have known not to ask. It was obvious. Her dogs prefer round dog beds. I thought it was a swell idea and really encouraged her to follow through with her dream. Well it was more than 10 years before she was able to pull all the pieces together. And yes indeed, all the dog beds are round and rather up scale. Apparently, the fabric that is used are all high quality upholstery fabric. I am seriously considering buying one of her round dog beds for my pooch. The site, Goodnight Dog, (such a clever name) has a lovely toile design that is perfect for my living room. I'd like to think that it was an exhibition at the former Bernard Toale Gallery and my encouragement that led to her online dog bed site. I do hope it will be successful.



Stephen Barker - The Archivist's Wig

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The Archivist's Wig, 2000-2007, Bernard Toale Gallery installation view, Boston, Feb 21 – Mar 29, 2008



April 16th, 2008 · No Comments · Artists, Boston


Toni Pepe, Untitled from the series Angle of Repose (Tablecloth with Dust), 2007, Archival Inkjet print [courtesy of the gallery]


Laura McPhee, Beaver Ponds on Fisher Creek After Wild Fire, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho, 2007, C-print [courtesy of the gallery]

Bernard Toale Gallery’s current exhibition pairs the work of two artists, Toni Pepe and Laura McPhee, with strikingly different approaches to photography.

McPhee’s dramatic mountains and forests are hauntingly still landscapes captured with the precise eye of a photographer’s photographer. Pepe’s Angle of Repose series is an idea-based collection of staged photos of women in various household environments, creating a dark and moody narrative along the lines of Cindy Sherman’s art historical pieces.

You’ll want to bring a McPhee home with you, but you’ll still be thinking about Pepe the next day.

Laura McPhee, Two Years Later


Toni Pepe, Angle of Repose


Bernard Toale Gallery

450 Harrison Ave, Boston 02118

April 2 through May 10, 2008

This was the Bernard Toale Gallery's website from 1999-2008. It was named as the best art gallery in Best of Boston for a number of years including 1999 and 2006.

Bernard Toale Gallery
450 Harrison Ave.
Boston MA
(617) 482-2477


Best of Boston 1999 ​

In the 1999 edition of the Best of Boston was an article about the gallery:​

The Bernard Toale Gallery​ moved last year from its swank Newbury Street location to a more intimate South End setting. Toale’s edginess is more than topographical however: He represents many of the city’s most promising younger artists, such as Ambreen Butt, David Hilliard, and Lucy White. His is also the gallery of choice for many shows of national significance, such as last year’s posthumous exhibit of photographer Francesca Woodman. Between exhibitions, Toale sponsors readings, video installations, and the occasional fashion show. And once again this year, he’ll use his gallery’s clout for a good cause—as chairperson for ARTcetera 2000, the biennial fine arts auction that benefits the AIDS Action Committee.

AND THEN in November of 2008 there was this article in which the Bernard Toale Gallery was mentioned.

The great Boston Art Shakeout

Ten local galleries closed this year. Where are we going?
November 14, 2008

By September, the Harrison Avenue gallery district seemed to have become a zombie, stiffly stumbling forward, as the citywide exhibit-space upheaval that began this past spring caught up with the neighborhood. Ten galleries were shuttered across Boston in 2008, seven of them in the South End, driven mostly by expiring leases and gloomy economic forecasts. The number of local venues deeply engaged in the future of contemporary art — particularly locally-made contemporary art — shrank. This fall, with each day auguring further economic catastrophe, the future looked even worse.

But this past week, Harrison Avenue came back to life, abuzz with hundreds of people out for the First Friday gallery receptions. All told, eight galleries have opened or changed addresses in the district since February. On Friday four of those galleries participated in the monthly showcase for the first time since settling in. Two more spaces are slated to open there next month.

Over the past decade, the South End has increasingly challenged Newbury Street as the heart of the city's art scene. This year's changes shifted the center of gravity to Harrison Avenue. "Before we were a destination because of the uniqueness of First Fridays," says Arlette Kayafas of GALLERY KAYAFAS. "Now I think we will be a destination because of that, but also the quality of the work."

Friday's visitors and dealers were energized, hopeful, and happily surprised. The rearrangements landed substantial players in more prominent storefronts, making the neighborhood feel as if — maybe — it was in better shape than it was a year ago.

The upheaval has made the South End feel excitingly new, but has diminished Newbury Street. Economic nervousness abounds. And some worry that this new world order may mean more shows of less adventurous work.

A wash

This year's gallery shakeup has been nothing short of seismic. Over the course of 2008, the gallery building at 450 Harrison Avenue — where multi-year leases were up and rents were increasing — lost ALLSTON SKIRT GALLERY, BERNARD TOALE GALLERY (whose namesake, Bernard Toale, switched his focus from exhibiting to consulting), Michael Price's MPG CONTEMPORARY, GALLERY XIV (which last fall had taken over the 450 space previously occupied by Locco Ritoro), and JULIE CHAE GALLERY (which opened in 2007 in space vacated by Genovese/Sullivan when it moved to Andover; Chae now plans to move to New York)...

FYI: Joseph Carroll ran the Bernard Toale Gallery for five years before taking it over in the summer of 2008 and reopening the space as Carroll and Sons that September.​

The content below is from the site's archived pages from 1999-2008 and other outside sources.​

The Bernard Toale Gallery was established by Bernard Toale in 1992 at 11 Newbury Street in Boston. Over the years, the Gallery has shown cutting-edge contemporary art in all media by internationally-known as well as emerging artists. In the spring of 1998, the Gallery moved to 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston's South End.



Tuesday - Saturday

10:30am - 5:30pm

Closed Saturdays in July

Open in August by

appointment only


tel 617-482-2477

fax 617-482-2549


Bernard Toale





Take the Mass Pike to 93 South.  Get off at Exit 24A.  Turn left at stoplight.  Go 2 short blocks and turn left at entrance to Mass Pike/Albany St.  Stay left and follow Albany St. Ramp.  Go three short blocks to E. Berkeley St. Take a right on E. Berkeley then your first left onto Harrison Ave. It's only two short blocks to Thayer St. We are on the left at the corner of Harrison and Thayer.


Off of 93 South, take the Mass Pike - Albany St. exit. This exit splits almost immediately and you should follow the Albany St. exit. From there, proceed to E. Berkeley and follow above instructions.


Off of 93 North , take Exit 18/Mass Ave.  At light turn right onto Mass Ave.  Go 2 blocks and turn right on to Harrison Ave.  And travel 8 blocks to Harrison and Thayer.

Parking is available in the lot next to the gallery at 475 Harrison Ave.





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