Fall Preview: 5 Must-See Museum Exhibitions

Fall is one of Boston’s busiest times of year - back to school, September moving day, exciting local events like Hubweek and We-BOS week, and the end of baseball season (go Sox!). We always recommend taking a moment to slow down and enjoy the exhibitions on view at our local institutions. Here are five exhibitions you can’t miss seeing in person:

 Andy Graydon,  City Lights Orchestra , 2018, used street lamps, steel, airline cable, Courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Clements Photography and Design, Boston. Source: deCordova website.

Andy Graydon, City Lights Orchestra, 2018, used street lamps, steel, airline cable, Courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Clements Photography and Design, Boston. Source: deCordova website.

1. PLATFORM 23: Andy Graydon, City Lights Orchestra at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
August 23, 2018 – August 31, 2019
51 Sandy Pond Road Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773

Andy Graydon’s playful City Lights Orchestra on display at the deCordova invites visitors to explore sound through an installation of hollow, plastic lamps. Once used as beacons of light, these discarded Cambridge street lamps now serve as “sculptural instruments”, meant to make noise and be played by visitors and musicians alike. Try your hand as a drummer this fall!

2. Empresses of China’s Forbidden City at the Peabody Essex Museum
August 18, 2018 – February 10, 2019
East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA

Empresses of China’s Forbidden City explores the influential role of imperial women during the Qing Dynasty, China’s last dynasty. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the formation of U.S.-China diplomatic relations, nearly 200 precious objects are on loan from the Palace Museum in Beijing. This collaborative exhibition is the first to investigate the role of these powerful women in the dynasty, thus shining new light on this historical time period.

  Empress Dowager Cixi with foreign envoys’ wives in the Hall of Happiness and Longevity (Leshou tang) in the Garden of Nurturing Harmony (Yihe yuan).  Photographed by Yu Xunling (1874–1943), Guangxu period, 1903–05, print from glass-plate negative, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, FSA A.13 SC-GR-249. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, purchase. Source: Peabody Essex Museum website.

Empress Dowager Cixi with foreign envoys’ wives in the Hall of Happiness and Longevity (Leshou tang) in the Garden of Nurturing Harmony (Yihe yuan). Photographed by Yu Xunling (1874–1943), Guangxu period, 1903–05, print from glass-plate negative, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, FSA A.13 SC-GR-249. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, purchase. Source: Peabody Essex Museum website.

3. French Pastels: Treasures from the Vault at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
June 30, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue , Boston, Massachusetts 02115

If you’re a texture junkie, won’t want to miss this incredible collection of soft pastel pieces currently on display at the MFA. Over 40 works from the MFA vault and on loan from private collections are temporarily returned to the spotlight, providing visitors an exclusive tour of this delicate medium. Masterpieces from a variety of artists are featured, including Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Odilon Redon, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

 Edgar Degas,  Dancers Resting , 1881–85. Pastel on paper mounted on cardboard. Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection. Source: MFA website.

Edgar Degas, Dancers Resting, 1881–85. Pastel on paper mounted on cardboard. Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection. Source: MFA website.

4. Wangechi Mutu: A Promise to Communicate at the Institute of Contemporary Art
January 20, 2018 – December 31, 2018
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA 02210

Mutu uses coarse, gray rescue blankets from humanitarian aid crises to create a disorganized and deconstructed map of the world. Colored pencils hang from the ceiling on thin strings, allowing visitors to communicate freely with each other on the wall. As described in the press release, the installation encourages “visitors to explore ideas of public space, communication, and free speech, addressing the idea of a world that despite its increasing potential for collectivity struggles to communicate in a comprehensive way.”

 Wangechi Mutu, A Promise to Communicate, 2017. Installation view, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

Wangechi Mutu, A Promise to Communicate, 2017. Installation view, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

5. The Lure of the Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure the Night at MASS MoCA
March 3, 2018 – December 31, 2018
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247

 Wilhelm Neusser,  Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728) , 2017, Oil on Canvas, 57in. x 67in. on display at MASS MoCA. Source: Wilhelm Neusser Instagram (@wilhelmneusser).

Wilhelm Neusser, Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728), 2017, Oil on Canvas, 57in. x 67in. on display at MASS MoCA. Source: Wilhelm Neusser Instagram (@wilhelmneusser).

The darkness of the night invites imagination to run wild. In The Lure of the Dark, our imagination comes to life through a collection of contemporary paintings exploring the mystery of the darkness. Over a dozen painters are featured in this group exhibition, including Patrick Bermingham, William Binnie, Cynthia Daignault, TM Davy, Jeronimo Elespe, Cy Gavin, Shara Hughes, Josephine Halvorson, Sam McKinniss, Wilhelm Neusser, Dana Powell, Kenny Rivero, and Alexandria Smith.

We’re particularly excited about this show because Wilhelm Neusser’s piece in the exhibition, Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728), is the sister piece to our Nocture/Doublemoon (1729) hanging on our wall in our October group exhibition. Be sure to stop by and see both pieces!