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!














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

6 Art Instagrams You Should Be Following

Instagram is a fantastic resource to keep yourself constantly updated on the art scene. Here are six Instagrams we love:

1. @ArtCube

An excellent source for new contemporary artists, ArtCube will keep you updated on emerging artists, and what you can look forward to at upcoming art fairs.

ArtCube.jpg

 

2. @DarkroomBoston

Darkroom is a Boston organization dedicated to making photography accessible and affordable, showcasing pop-up photography exhibits all over Boston. Their Instagram is a wonderful collection of contemporary photography, as well as a way to keep an eye out for where Darkroom exhibits will be popping up next.

Darkroom.jpg

 

3. @Drawbertson

Fine artist and dad, Donald Robertson will keep you entertained with great photos of his in-progress and completed work, as well as his adorable twin boys getting into mischief.  #BuyThemNothing!

 

4. @LeonKeer

Leon Keer’s street art brings the 2D medium right into the third dimension, using perspective to create paintings that literally pop out of the street. His Instagram is a great way to do a double take while scrolling down your feed.

drawbertson.jpg

 

5. @Natalia_Wrobel_Art

Natalia Wrobel's Instagram is a beautiful peek into the life of a Boston-area painter. This Cambridge-based artist presents a great mix of studio, gallery, and fun, and gives us a sneak peek at what we have to look forward to in her April duo show.

 

6. A tie between @MFABoston and @ICABoston

If you’re looking for contemporary art in the Boston area, the ICA and MFA should absolutely be on your follow list. Their Instagram accounts keep up-to-date on the work they’re featuring, including snapshots of exhibits and studio visits with their artists. 

 

And if you’re not following us already, be sure to keep updated with @AbigailOgilvy on Instagram!

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016: Puloma Ghosh