About the Collections

On September 18, 2011, the MFA unveiled seven new galleries dedicated to the Contemporary collections in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, housed in the fully renovated 1981 building designed by I. M. Pei. The transformation of the wing more than triples the existing 7,000 square feet for the display of art, resulting in approximately 21,250 square feet of space dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art. A rich diversity of more than 200 works is represented throughout the wing, including those by internationally recognized artists: El Anatsui, Lynda Benglis, Mark Bradford, Kathy Butterly, Carlson/Strom,  Cerith Wyn Evans, Mona Hatoum, Jim Hodges, Jenny Holzer, Eva Hild, Matthew Day Jackson, Jun Kaneko, Ellsworth Kelly, Josiah McElheny, Sigmar Polke, Ken Price, Doris Salcedo, Timorous Beasties, Anne Truitt, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Fred Wilson, and Betty Woodman, among others. 

Preview the wing in our interactive magazine.


While works by living artists have always been collected by the MFA—Winslow Homer, Claude Monet, and John Singer Sargent were contemporary artists when some of their paintings were acquired—the Department of Contemporary Art was not established until the Museum's centennial year, 1971. Since 1992, it has officially focused on works created since 1955. In 2008, four departments—Contemporary Art, Film, Concerts, and Lectures and Courses—were brought under the umbrella of a single department, Contemporary Art and MFA Programs, affirming the intersection between all forms of contemporary arts culture and discourse. To date, the department has acquired more than 850 works of painting, photography, works on paper, sculpture, installation, decorative arts, craft, design, and new media, such as video and LED, while thousands more works dating since 1955 are held in the Museum’s other departments including Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Art of the Americas; and Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa.

ABOVE: El Anatsui, Black River, 2009. Aluminum, bottle caps and copper wire. Towles Fund for Contemporary Art, Robert L. Beal and Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Acquisition Fund, Henry and Lois Foster Contemporary Purchase Fund, Frank B. Bemis Fund, and funds donated by the Vance Wall Foundation. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY. Photography © Tony Rinaldo.

Collections Highlights


Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo
Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo

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