In October, Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director, reviewed the highlights of Museum Year 2012.
I’m Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and I’m speaking to you from the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, a transformed space that opened just a year ago.
This is one of the first spaces that school children see as they enter the Museum. It’s a gateway to all the experiences that the Museum offers, and there’s always something new within our walls.
Let me tell you now about some of the past year’s highlights.
The Museum attracted 1.2 million visitors over the past year, brought to the Museum by an exciting program of exhibitions and other events. “Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass” was a truly spectacular exhibition, and proved to be one of the most popular exhibitions of the past decade. And now the Museum has a new landmark, Chihuly’s Lime Green Icicle Tower, which brings color and light to the Shapiro Family Courtyard.
The acclaimed “Degas” exhibition focused on the nude figure, a subject never before explored in a museum exhibition. There were exquisite international loans, above all from our partner the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in Paris.
In March, this 13,000-pound ancient Roman statue of Juno almost literally flew into the Museum.
Among the many gallery reinstallations and rotations, the South and Southeast Asian sculpture gallery, which opened in December, was a highlight.
Additionally, during the year, we were planning for a reinstalled Koch Gallery, perhaps the grandest gallery in the Museum—with damask wall coverings, new lighting, wonderful 17th-century paintings, and also a display of royal silver. There’s going to be a real sense of spectacle.
All of us at the Museum are passionate to share our collections beyond our walls here, in Boston.
In March, “Japanese Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” opened at the National Museum in Tokyo, where it was seen by more than half a million visitors.
In May, one of our most beloved paintings, Renoir’s Bal à Bougival, as part of our Visiting Masterpieces program, was installed with two other portraits of the dance from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
The year was marked by two extraordinary gifts of art. The Lane Collection, the gift of Honorary Trustee Saundra Lane, which comprises some 6,500 photographs, paintings, and drawings. And truly, particularly in the photographic area, transforms what the Museum is able to achieve.
And then, Robert Owen Lehman gave to the Museum a most wonderful treasure of African art, 34 Benin objects—wonderful sculptures in bronze and ivory, which make the Museum a leader in this field.
It’s been an exciting year at the Museum, with so many changes, all designed to improve your experience at the Museum, and to create fascinating exchanges between our visitors and some of the greatest works of art.
Every day a new MFA.