Ann and Graham Gund Gallery exhibitions are in bold. Please contact Public Relations to verify titles and dates before publication: email@example.com.
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS AND NEW GALLERIES
Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery
July 19, 2014–May, 14, 2017
The Museum’s world-class collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia will be the focus of this dazzling exhibition in the Kaplan Gallery—one of only a few galleries at US museums solely dedicated to jewelry. The MFA’s collection of Nubian adornments is the most comprehensive outside Khartoum, a result of an early 20th-century expedition by the Museum with Harvard University. The MFA is the only US museum able to mount an exhibition devoted solely to Nubian adornment drawing exclusively on its own collection. Jewels of Ancient Nubia will illustrate the complex relationship which Ancient Nubia, located in what is now Sudan, had with its neighbors. As the conduit between the Mediterranean world and lands south of the Nile Valley, Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods—especially gold. The exhibition will focus on excavated ornaments, dating from 1700 BC to the 300 AD, including both uniquely Nubian and foreign imports, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, innovation and rarity. Jewels of Ancient Nubia will exhibit some 100 objects, including a gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye and the famous Hathor-headed crystal pendant.
Mary Stamas Gallery and Frances Vrachos Gallery
July 26, 2014—May 25, 2015
Timed to coincide with the100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, this exhibition features more than 40 wartime posters from the United States and Europe—including select examples from Britain, France, Germany and Russia. This exhibition is the first time since 1938 that many of the works will be on view, and marks the first display of the I Want You for U.S. Army (1917) poster by James Montgomery Flagg at the Museum, which was acquired by in 2009. Many of the works on view were used for recruitment and enlistment campaigns for the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Service, while others depict appeals to buy war bonds (Liberty Loans), conserve food (from the US Food Administration), assist the Red Cross, donate books and maintain a strong work ethic on the home front (from the US Shipping Board).
Asian Paintings Gallery
August 9–November 30, 2014
Paintings made for followers of Jainism, a religion that emerged alongside Buddhism in the sixth century BC, are among the most visually striking of all Indian art. They include large and colorful maps of the cosmos, depictions of the lives of Jain saints, and images of sacred Sanskrit syllables used for meditation. This exhibition presents a group of Jain paintings that have rarely been exhibited at the MFA—early illustrated manuscripts and newly restored cloth paintings—together with embroidered book covers and select sculptures. Together, these objects illuminate the potent sacred world of the Jain religion. With support from the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund.
Upper Cohen Galleria, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art
August 16, 2014–May 30, 2017
This summer, the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art will be revitalized as the Upper Cohen Galleria adopts a new theme: Landscape, Abstracted. Approximately 10 newly installed works will be on view, including sculpture, installation, paintings and new media—all building on the MFA’s long tradition of collecting exceptional landscapes. Contemporary artist Jason Middlebrook has been invited to paint the largest wall in the space, which measures 24 by 80 feet. Middlebrook’s signature patterning weds the geometry of modern abstraction with the lines of wood grain to “create a tension between something organic and something man-made.” Pieces that expand the definition of “landscape” beyond the horizon line include School of the Museum of Fine Arts professor Barbara Gallucci’s interactive Topia Chairs (2008) and Spencer Finch’s fluorescent light piece Shield of Achilles (Dawn, Troy) (2013). The Museum is also commissioning a new site-specific work by artist Anne Lindberg, which evokes nature by using only thread and staples. The rotation marks the three-year anniversary of the Linde Family Wing, which has reinstalled or rotated more than 80 percent of works on view since it opened in September 2011—including the addition of Liliana Porter’s seminal wall painting, Untitled (Shadows), Martin Puryear’s Confessional (1996-2000) and Anish Kapoor’s Untitled (Shu-red) (2007).
The Henry and Lois Foster Gallery
August 23, 2014–March 1, 2015
For the past decade, Shinique Smith (American, born in 1971) has been internationally admired for exuberant paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations that capture the power of human expression and resilience. Whether looping graffiti, calligraphy and vibrant sweeping strokes on canvas; patterned clothing densely clustered or hung as human forms; or even full-body impressions pressed in ink against walls, her works reflect intersecting forces--of personal history, influence and energy. Shinique Smith: Bright Matter surveys 30 key works from the past decade while debuting over a dozen new pieces, including painting, sculpture, full-room installations, video and performance. The exhibition marks a significant return to Boston for Smith, who completed her masters in teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts (2000) while working full time with high school students. Her exhibition at the MFA will foster new connections to the Boston community, through free community day activities and projects with the MFA’s Teen Arts Council. Presented with generous support from the Robert and Jane Burke Fund for Exhibitions, The Contemporaries, and the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions. Additional support provided by the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson
Homer and the Epics, Theater and Performance and Dionysos and the Symposium
Opens September 16, 2014
Homer and the Epics, Krupp Gallery
This gallery will present the MFA’s world-renowned collection of works of art illustrating scenes from the Homeric epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey. One of the most striking marble portraits of Homer, the blind Greek poet of the eighth century BC, will preside over a group of objects depicting scenes from the Iliad such as the Judgment of Paris, the Dragging of Hektor, the Fall of Troy and the Murder of Agamemnon, as well as scenes not told in the epic, such as Ajax and Achilles playing a board game. A marble head of the monster Cyclops will be the centerpiece of the Odyssey grouping, with vases illustrating the escape of Odysseus from the monster’s cave, Circe magically changing the hero’s men into swine, and his descent into the Underworld to speak to Elpenor.
Theater and Performance
This gallery will feature objects related to Greek theater, including masks, dance and music. The earliest representations include examples of a choral dance with hoplites (citizens and soldiers) riding dolphins, chorus men putting on female costumes, and a satyr chorus with men wearing their characteristic horse’s ears and tails. Athenian plays were performed in the grand theaters of South Italy, which inspired local painters to capture the spectacle on their vases. Many of the MFA’s notable collection of fourth-century BC vases––produced by wealthy Greek colonies of Sicily and South Italy––feature scenes from dramas and comedies written by Greek playwrights.
Dionysos and the Symposium
Dionysos, god of wine, presides over this gallery, which will introduce the significance of wine in Greek culture, religion and symposium activities. These activities include philosophical discourse (as represented by a bust of Socrates), the performance of poetry and music, drinking games, and the role of courtesans. Music was a key element in the symposium and it is where the works of famous poets and singers were performed, some of whom are portrayed singing and playing lyres and flutes. Images of Dionysos and his retinue animate all types of drinking and serving vessels, with several depicting sacred festivals dedicated to drinking the first wines of the vintage.
Rosemary Merrill Loring and Caleb Loring, Jr., Gallery
September 9, 2014–March 8, 2015
Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen features gowns and exquisite jewelry from the 1930s and 1940s—the most glamorous years of Hollywood film. The exhibition will focus on several major starlets of the period, including Gloria Swanson, Anna May Wong, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and Joan Crawford, exploring how jewelry and clothing contributed to their iconic style. It will also examine the differences between fashion and Hollywood “costume” by contrasting the off-screen clothing with more dramatic costumes created for the screen by famous designers such as Adrian and Travis Banton. Among the 50 works on view will be a dress designed for Wong by Travis Banton, and an aquamarine and diamond suite designed for Crawford. Also featured will be clothing by Adrian, Banton, and Chanel; jewelry by Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin and Paul Flato; set and costume designs; and photography by Edward Steichen. Complementing these will be additional period photographs, film stills and film clips. These pieces will be drawn from institutional/museum lenders as well as from private collections, including that of jeweler Neil Lane.
Japanese Print Gallery
September 13, 2014–July 19, 2015
By the middle of the 19th century, color woodblock printing in Japan was so widespread and inexpensive that it could profitably be used to make toys for children—which were no doubt enjoyed by many adults as well. This exhibition (one of the first of its kind outside Japan) will feature "toy prints" (asobi-e or omocha-e) such as colorful board games, paper dolls, cutout dioramas and pictorial riddles, as well as scenes showing how the toys and games were enjoyed. Thanks largely to the eclectic taste of William Sturgis Bigelow, the donor of over half of the Museum’s collection, the MFA has a fine assortment of these intriguing and unusual materials. In particular, a group of large paper board games by major 19th-century artists will be presented in pristine condition. With generous support from the Dr. Robert A. and Dr. Veronica Petersen Fund for Exhibitions.
Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
October 12, 2014–January 19, 2015
Spanish master Francisco Goya (1746–1828) was a perceptive witness to the human condition at a time of revolution and radical transformation in thought and behavior. As 18th-century culture gave way to the modern world, little escaped Goya’s penetrating gaze. This exhibition, built upon the MFA’s renowned collection of prints, examines Goya’s powers of observation and invention across the full range of his art. The largest Goya exhibition in North America in a quarter century, Goya: Order and Disorder will be shown only in Boston. Composed of more than 160 of his most significant paintings, prints and drawings, the exhibition is arranged according to the themes and compositional devices to which he returned throughout his career. Some 60 works from the MFA, including rare drawings and working proofs for prints that have not been on view in Boston since 1989, will form the core of the exhibition. These will be supplemented by important loans of paintings and drawings from institutions such as the Museo del Prado, the Musée du Louvre, the Galleria degli Uffizi, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art (Washington) as well as numerous private collections in Europe and the US. The full range of Goya’s creativity will be on display, from elegant full-length portraits of Spanish aristocrats that first brought the painter fame, to prints and drawings of beggars and grotesque witches. From the tranquil to the precarious and chaotic, Goya’s art made life and the conflicting emotions of the human mind comprehensible to the viewer—and to himself. Generous support for this exhibition provided by Highland Street Foundation and the Thompson Family Foundation. Additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with the special collaboration of the Museo Nacional del Prado. For more information, please visit our press release.
Opening November 11, 2014
The Pacific Ocean could be called a "continent of water:" It covers more than one third of the Earth's surface and is a realm of thousands of islands—from Indonesia and New Guinea to Easter Island off the coast of South America; from Hawaii in the north to New Zealand in the south. The works in this new gallery hail from the Pacific’s four main cultural spheres: the islands in and around Indonesia, Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Reflecting some of the central artistic traditions of Pacific Islanders, the works on view attest to the diverse and expressive use of many materials and forms: sculpted wood and stone, carved jade, engraved bamboo, delicate weavings and paintings on bark and wood. Some of these objects were used in daily life, while others had ceremonial and ritual functions, serving as links to the ancestral or spiritual worlds.
Asian Paintings Gallery
December 20, 2014–July 19, 2015
Across all cultures, physical allure has been a central focus of depicting women in art. In China, the rich visual cultures of the region have produced many different images of women in accordance with the fashions, styles, aesthetics and concepts of beauty. Works that today seem to be modest depictions of beautiful women may have been considered highly suggestive when first created. This exhibition will include paintings, prints, posters and photographs of women by Chinese artists from the 11th through the 20th century, several of which have recently been reinterpreted as erotic, leaving other works open to reconsideration. On view will be one of the MFA’s great masterpieces of Chinese paintings, Court Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk (1082-1135), as well as turn-of-the century hand-colored photographs of courtesans, 1930s cigarette advertisement posters, and 20th-century propaganda posters of female agriculture workers.
Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery
January 17, 2015–January 3, 2016
This exhibition explores the historic foundations of contemporary ceramic art, emphasizing the continuity in American artists’ approach to ceramics over the past 100 years—from the Arts and Crafts movement to Mid-Century Modernism to Studio Craft and Contemporary practice. The MFA’s first exhibition of American ceramics since 1984, outstanding works are drawn from the MFA’s rich holdings as well as a number of private collections. The exhibition features 40-50 objects, including recent acquisitions from the Aarons Collection and Daphne Farago Collection. Pushing the boundaries between functional and sculptural, the works demonstrate unprecedented experimentation not only with forms, colors and glazes, but also with the role of clay as an artistic and sculptural medium. Highlighting the connections between contemporary art and the art of the past, the exhibition explores each generation’s styles through a chronological look at how the potter has been redefined as an artist, and how ceramics have been redefined as a vehicle for artistic expression.
Robert and Jane Burke Gallery
January 17–September 13, 2015
Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African-American artists of his time, is the subject of this exhibition of groundbreaking photographs of Fort Scott, Kansas—focusing on the realities of life in the segregated south during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’ own fascinating life story. In 1948, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) became the first African-American photographer to be hired full time by LIFE magazine. One of the rare African-American photojournalists in the field, Parks was frequently given magazine assignments involving social issues that his fellow white photographers were not asked to cover. In 1950, Parks returned to his hometown in Kansas to make a series of photographs meant to accompany an article that he planned to call “Fort Scott Revisited.” Fort Scott was the town that he had left more than 20 years earlier, when as a teenager his mother died and he found himself—the youngest of 15 children—suddenly having to make his own way in the world. He used this assignment to revisit early memories of his birthplace, many involving serious racial discrimination, and to reconnect with childhood friends, all of whom went to the same all-black grade school that Parks had attended. One of the most visually rich and captivating of all his projects, Park’s photo essay, now owned by The Gordon Parks Foundation, was slated to appear in April 1951, but was never published. This exhibition represents a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African-American citizens in the South, years before the Civil Rights movement began in earnest. Sponsored by Northern Trust. This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with the Gordon Parks Foundation. Presented with support from the Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Exhibition Fund.
Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
April 5–July 26, 2015
Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) was the first Japanese artist to be internationally recognized, and he continues to inspire artists around the world. As the home of the largest and finest collection of Japanese art outside Japan—including the greatest variety of Hokusai works in any museum—the MFA is uniquely positioned to offer a comprehensive exhibition of this remarkable artist. Drawing from extensive holdings of paintings, woodblock prints and illustrated printed books, the Museum will showcase an array of works from Hokusai’s seven-decade career, including lesser-known pieces depicting whimsical instructions on how to draw, dynamic paintings on paper lanterns and elaborate cut-out dioramas. Also displayed are some of the most famous images in Japanese art, including Under the Wave Off Kanagawa (Great Wave) (about 1830–31)—from the legendary series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji—and the brilliantly colored multi-panel screen painting, Phoenix (1835). Spanning Hokusai’s work from his 20s through his 80s, the exhibition will explore common themes through sections dedicated to topics such as landscapes, educational books, nature, fantasy and the “Floating World” of urban culture (including depictions of the Kabuki theater and the Yoshiwara pleasure district). Works that depict Japanese historical and literary motifs will be featured along with “perspective prints” that use exaggerated vanishing points in toy peep shows. An extremely delicate silk square of a mythological Chinese lion, likely used as a gift wrapper (fukusa), will also be included, in a rare public display of the fragile work.
April 15—June 30, 2015
Lois and Michael Torf Gallery
Leonardo da Vinci: Bella e Brutto, The Idea of Beauty features many of the most admired drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), one of the world’s most celebrated artists. Organized in partnership with the Muscarelle Museum of Art, this groundbreaking exhibition explores the artist’s concepts of ideal beauty. Throughout his career, Leonardo experimented with three kinds of drawings: scientific studies made from life, grotesque caricatures of craggy faces, and, finally, the most beautiful faces of men and women that he could imagine. Because he left so few paintings, Leonardo’s drawings have been recognized for centuries as the deepest window into his thinking. The artist poured the full fervor of his intelligence and creative powers into the 25 works on view, which offer a rich and varied selection of loans from Italy—primarily from the Uffizi Museum in Florence and the Biblioteca Reale in Turin. Leonardo’s works represent the culmination of the early Renaissance idea of beauty, and reflect his view that ideal beauty—such as that of Helen of Troy or the Mona Lisa—could be observed by study of the most perfect human features. Human ugliness also fascinated and frightened Leonardo, serving as a living contrast to his idea of physical perfection.
Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery
July 2–September 1, 2014
One of only four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta—a document written in 1215 that subsequently served as a symbol for liberty around the world—travels to the MFA this summer for a special exhibition of approximately 20 works in the Museum’s Art of the Americas Wing. An inspiration for the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, the exemplar owned by the UK’s Lincoln Cathedral and typically housed in Lincoln Castle will be on view in the exhibition, Magna Carta: Cornerstone of Liberty. In partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Magna Carta will join historical loans and manuscript drafts of the Declaration of Independence as well as portraits and works of art from the Museum’s collection. The MFA’s Sons of Liberty Bowl (1768) by Paul Revere—which is engraved with the words “Magna/Charta” and “Bill of/Rights”—will be among the works that help tell the story of patriots and revolutionaries who fought for freedom in the face of tyranny across the centuries. Founding Fathers, presidents and abolitionists, inspired by the liberties enshrined in Magna Carta, will be represented in the exhibition through portraits, marble busts and historical documents that celebrate their commitment to civil rights and equal representation under the law. A mobile MFA Guide on the American Revolution will offer a tour of the Museum’s most famous artwork from Colonial times and celebrate the extraordinary journey of the United States of America. After being shown at the MFA, Magna Carta travels to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and Lincoln Cathedral. Generously supported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For more information, please visit our press release.
Robert and Jane Burke Gallery
July 8, 2014–January 4, 2015
One of the greatest American draftsman and creative printmakers from the 1960s to the present, Jasper Johns introduced new conceptual ideas about representation into American art by focusing on signs and symbols that were inherently flat (numbers, flags, targets). His works often involve a playful dialogue between art and illusion, between three dimensional and flatness, between images and words. His prints are highly sophisticated variations on his paintings, and the idea of serial repetition with variation also plays a prominent role in his work. The exhibition will consist of 25 works by Johns, including drawings, prints and relief sculpture from both the MFA and private collections, such as 0 through 9 (1960) and Pinion (1963–66). Presented with support from the Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions.
Lois and Michael Torf Gallery
July 16–December 28, 2014
The first retrospective of artist Jamie Wyeth (born 1946) will examine his distinctive approach to realism over the course of six decades, from his earliest childhood drawings through various recurring themes inspired by the people, places and objects that populate his world. A member of a family of artists, including his grandfather, Newell Convers, “N.C.” (1882–1945), his father, Andrew (1917–2009), and his aunt, Carolyn (1909–1994), Jamie has followed a unique path, training with his aunt Carolyn after leaving school at age 11, studying in the New York City morgue and at Andy Warhol’s New York studio, The Factory. The exhibition will include 114 compositions created by Wyeth, many in combined mediums, the artist’s preferred term for his distinctive technique. The exhibition will feature Wyeth’s portraits of subjects such as his wife, Phyllis; John F. Kennedy (commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis after his death); and Rudolph Nureyev and Andy Warhol; and places such as landscapes in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Tenants Harbor and Monhegan Island, Maine; as well as still lifes such as pumpkins (a fascination from his youth), and the many animals and birds that populate his home and surroundings. Organized by the MFA, and accompanied by a publication, the exhibition will travel to several venues. Jamie Wyeth is sponsored by Bank of America. Additional support provided by the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson, Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey E. Marshall, and the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fund