See It Now: Megacities Asia

Megacity: A very large city with a population of over 10 million people

Urban setting of this scale were unimaginable fifty years ago, but are becoming increasingly common, especially in the continent of Asia. These towering, sprawling metropolises are centers of the social, political, and environmental concerns of the eleven artists featured in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Megacities Asia exhibit.

Comprised primarily of installations and sculpture constructed from found objects in these megacities, the pieces convey the textures, materials, and overall feeling of the city each artist calls their home. Rather than being contained to one room, portions of Megacities can be found all over the museum and even beyond its walls. The most notable of these outside exhibitions is Fruit Tree, Choi Jeong Hwa’s magnificent twenty-three feet tall inflated bouquet of fruit, on view outside Quincy Market in Boston.

Upon descending into the main exhibition hall of Megacities Asia, the first thing we see is a geographical map showing the origins of each artist. The exhibition is constantly putting the work in context, accessible to visitors who may not be familiar with the cities addressed by the artists.

Untitled  (2016) Aditi Joshi; Mumbai, India Fused plastic bags, acrylic paint, LED lighting, and wooden armature Image Courtesy of MFA Boston

Untitled (2016)
Aditi Joshi; Mumbai, India
Fused plastic bags, acrylic paint, LED lighting, and wooden armature
Image Courtesy of MFA Boston

Some notable works includes a large, colorful sculpture by Aaditi Joshi, stretching across a corner of the exhibit, textured like a deep-sea coral reef. Upon closer examination, we see that the entire sculpture is made of plastic bags collected from the streets of Mumbai, India, Joshi’s native megacity. The piece addresses the environmental threat of overuse and improper disposal of these plastic bags in Mumbai, looming over the viewer like a twisting, bristling beast.

Super-Natural  (2011-2016) Han Seok Hyun

Super-Natural (2011-2016)
Han Seok Hyun

Hu Xiangcheng’s corner of the exhibit, Doors Away from Home (2016), has multiple little rooms, divided and wallpapered with salvaged Ming and Qing-era doors from homes destroyed in Shanghai’s modernization. The doors themselves are pieces of history, and tacked on are photographs of past residents, stickers, wrappers, and children’s hair ornaments—remnants of their legacy. There are mirrors fitted into each window pane; moving through the exhibit, we see ourselves reflected in the work. Hu asks the question that often accompanies rapid cultural change: are we losing something?

Han Seok Hyun’s all-green sprawling installation, Super-Natural (2011-2016) is like a miniature city in itself. It is fun to parse through, identifying the mass-produced consumer products from Seoul that make up the piece. The work addresses the environmental issues arising as nature is replaced my man-made and calls out the mirage of “green” products—which are often falsely presumed to be environmentally friendly just because of their color.

These works and more are on view in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through July 17, 2016. Be sure to catch it before its gone!

 

Wednesday, May 18: Puloma Ghosh

Outdoor Art Exhibitions to Visit This Spring

One of the best parts of springtime in the arts is watching new installations pop up and old favorites reopen for the summer season. Art in Boston is getting some fresh air as the city awakens from its winter slumber. Take advantage of this years beautiful New England summer to visit these outdoor art exhibitions in and around Boston.

Fruit Tree

Image Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Image Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

As a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston's Megacities Asia exhibition, Choi Jeong Hwa's Fruit Tree towers over passerby outside Quincy Market in Boston. The inflated bouquet of fruits is twenty-three feet tall and examines the ideas of natural and artificial, and where we can find beauty in their intersections. Fruit Tree will be up until July 17, 2016.

May This Never End

Image courtesy of Boston.Com

Image courtesy of Boston.Com

This year the Greenway in Boston will be host to Chicago artist Matthew Hoffman's narrative piece, May This Never End. The work is installed along a fence between North and Clinton Street near Faneuil Hall, and is made up of four foot tall yellow polyethylene letters that begins with the phrase, "Nothing’s for keeps. Except that we must keep going." Discover the rest of Hoffman's words for yourself; they'll be up through the summer and into the fall, exhibiting until November 18, 2016.

deCordova Museum Sculpture Park

If you haven't visited the deCordova Museum's sculpture park yet, make 2016 the year you finally see it. Follow the beautiful walk and enjoy the Museum's sculpture collection, comprised of works in a variety of materials, including stone, metal, concrete. The newest piece on view was installed just last year: Beacon by Stephanie Cardon consists of two concrete pillars bridged by hazard-yellow metal cables, which play with the viewer's sense of space by disturbing the way the eye perceives light. Join the deCordova for their annual spring gala, Party for the Park, May 7!

The Courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Image Courtesy of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Image Courtesy of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner's notable collection extends outdoors to its elegant courtyard. The courtyard is not only host to beautifully crafted sculpture and mosaic work; the garden itself is a work of landscape art that combines horticulture, fine art, and architecture that gives museum visitors a breath of fresh air between the Gardner's indoor exhibitions.

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016: Puloma Ghosh