Advanced Exhibition Schedule

Upcoming Exhibitions and New Galleries


In the Steps of the Master: Pupils of Hokusai August 29, 2015—January 3, 2016
Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer October 11, 2015—January 18, 2016
Marilyn Arsem: 100 Ways to Consider Time (Maud Morgan Prize 2015) November 9, 2015—February 19, 2016
Kenneth Paul Block December 12, 2015—August 14, 2016
#techstyle March 5—July 10, 2016
Art, Accumulation, and Objects in Asian Megacities April 3—July 17, 2016

Current Exhibitions


Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott through September 13, 2015
Herb Ritts through November 8, 2015
Yours Sincerely, John S. Sargent through November 15, 2015
Nature, Sculpture, Abstraction, and Clay: 100 Years of American Ceramics through January 3, 2016
Crafted: Objects in Flux through January 10, 2016
Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia through February 15, 2016
Unfinished Stories: Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Collection through February 21, 2016
Pastoral to Pop: 20th-Century Britain on Paper through February 21, 2016
Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia through May 14, 2017
Landscape, abstracted through Summer 2017

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery exhibitions are in bold. Please contact Public Relations to verify titles and dates before publication:

Upcoming Exhibitions and New Galleries

In the Steps of the Master: Pupils of Hokusai

Japanese Print Gallery
August 29, 2015—January 3, 2016

The amazing versatility of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)—subject of a major MFA retrospective in spring 2015—is reflected in the work of his many pupils, who were inspired by their master to produce outstanding prints and paintings of subjects including beautiful women, historical warriors, landscapes, still-lifes and monsters. This exhibition examines the first wave of Hokusai’s impact on Japanese art, during his own lifetime and shortly thereafter, as seen in the work of the artists who studied with him in person. Hokusai’s influence was especially strong in the area of surimono—privately commissioned prints made of the finest materials and techniques. Three of the most important and prolific designers of surimono—Shinsai, Hokkei and Gakutei—were all pupils of Hokusai, and are included in the exhibition. Also featured are striking landscapes by one of Hokusai’s most intriguing pupils, Hokuju, and a handscroll painting of monsters by the amateur artist Takai Kōzan, a wealthy merchant who worked with Hokusai during the final decade of the master’s life. Presented with support from the Dr. Robert A. and Dr. Veronica Petersen Fund for Exhibitions.

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
October 11, 2015—January 18, 2016

Organized by the MFA, this groundbreaking exhibition proposes a new approach to the understanding of 17th-century Dutch painting. Included are 75 carefully selected and beautifully preserved portraits, genre scenes, landscapes and seascapes borrowed from European and American public and private collections—including masterpieces never before seen in the US. The show will reflect, for the first time, the ways in which art signals the socioeconomic groups of the new Dutch Republic, from the Princes of Orange to the most indigent of citizens. Class distinctions had meaning and were expressed in the type of work depicted (or the lack thereof), the costumes, a figure’s comportment and behavior, or his physical environment. Arranged according to 17th-century ideas about social stratification, paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch and Gabriel Metsu, will be divided into three classes—upper, middle and lower—and further sub-divided into eight categories. A final section will explore the places where the classes in Dutch society met one another. Additionally, 41 works of decorative arts—objects used by each class but diverging in material and decoration (for example, salt cellars, candlesticks, mustard pots, linens)—will be installed in three table settings to highlight material differences among the classes. The accompanying publication features essays by a team of distinguished Dutch scholars and exhibition curator Ronni Baer, the MFA’s William and Ann Elfers Senior Curator of Paintings. Presented with generous support from the Committee of Honor and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional support provided by the Netherland-America Foundation and an anonymous foundation. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Media Sponsor is WCVB Boston. Generous support for this publication was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Publications Fund.

Marilyn Arsem: 100 Ways to Consider Time (Maud Morgan Prize 2015)

Jeanne and Stokley Towles Gallery, Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art
November 9, 2015—February 19, 2016

Marilyn Arsem (born 1951) is the first performance artist to receive the MFA’s Maud Morgan Prize—which honors a Massachusetts woman artist who has demonstrated creativity and vision, making significant contributions to the contemporary arts landscape. In recognition of her contributions to the field, Arsem will receive a cash award and present new performances in a special solo exhibition at the MFA. Arsem has been a fundamental figure in the field of performance art since the late 1970s, and was a faculty member at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) for 27 years. Having performed 180 pieces around the world over the last three decades, she has had an enormous impact on multiple generations of performance artists in Boston and internationally. Founder of Mobius, a Boston-area collaborative of interdisciplinary artists, Arsem has been central to maintaining the presence of performance art locally and nationally at times when the art form struggled for recognition and funding. The Maud Morgan Prize was established in 1993 in recognition of the spirit of adventure and independence embodied by noted New England artist Maud Morgan (1903–1999). Presented with support from The Contemporaries. Performance Art at the MFA is supported by Lorraine Bressler.

Kenneth Paul Block (working title)

Clementine Haas Michel Brown Gallery
December 12, 2015—August 14, 2016

Kenneth Paul Block (1925–2009) is arguably the most important fashion illustrator of the second half of the 20th century. His versatility and ability to create a gesture or evoke the high energy of the post-WWII generation make his work stand out among illustrators of his time. Throughout his career, mainly with Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) and W Magazine, he chronicled fashionable designs and the lifestyles of the people who wore them. Blending illustration and portraiture, his drawings of figures like Jacqueline Kennedy, Babe Paley and Gloria Guinness capture the sophistication of the era’s socialites and celebrities. This chronological survey contains approximately 30 works spanning Block’s career from the 1950s into the 1990s––drawing from the MFA’s repository of Block’s extensive archive of drawings. Including examples of fashion illustrations and society portraits, the works range from early black-and-white drawings in charcoal to later works in watercolor and colored pencil.


Henry and Lois Foster Gallery
March 5–July 10, 2016

Clothes that respond to the environment, fabrics that are “grown,” dresses you can tweet, and garments that come off a 3-D printer ready to wear—all of these innovations are poised to have a profound impact on the future of the fashion industry. Designers have embraced these innovations and #techstyle will explore how the synergy between fashion and technology is not only changing the way designers design, but also the way people interact with their clothing. #techstyle will draw on the MFA’s collection of contemporary fashion and accessories, and will feature key pieces from innovators in the field including a digitally-printed dress from Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis collection (Spring/Summer 2010/2011) and Iris Van Herpen’s 3-D printed dress (2013) produced in collaboration with MIT designer and assistant professor Neri Oxman. Visitors will experience the cutting edge of hi-tech fashion with special commissions created by Cute Circuit, The Unseen, Hussein Chalayan, and Cambridge-based Nervous System.

Art, Accumulation, and Objects in Asian Megacities (working title)

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
April 3–July 17, 2016

This exhibition presents monumental sculptures and installations from a group of Asian “megacities,” with populations of 10 million or more. Representing the unique urban environments of Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Seoul, 11 artists will display 14 large-scale sculptures and installations, including loans and site-specific works created in real time at the MFA. Works will be installed in the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery and indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the Museum’s campus. These artists—some well-known, others emerging—respond to the unprecedented scale and pace of urban expansion that surrounds them by gathering and arranging everyday objects. By working with these materials, the artists use the city itself as their medium, creating immersive physical experiences that evoke and respond to recent conditions in Asian megacities. The works will reflect issues of each city, including rural-to-urban migration, consumption, construction and pollution, while also celebrating the vibrancy of the urban environment. Contemporary South and East Asian art relating to these themes has never before been the focus of a major exhibition in the United States.

Current Exhibitions

Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott

Robert and Jane Burke Gallery
through September 13, 2015

Gordon Parks (1912-2006), 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 under segregation during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’ own fascinating life story. In 1948, Parks 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 “Back to Fort Scott.” 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, Parks’ photographs for the story, now owned by The Gordon Parks Foundation, were slated to appear in April 1951, but in the end were never published. This exhibition represents a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African-American citizens in the 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. See press release for more information.

Herb Ritts

Herb Ritts and Clementine Brown Galleries
through November 8, 2015

Herb Ritts (1952-2002) was a leading American photographer of the 1980s and 1990s, known for his beautifully printed, formally bold and sensual black and white images of supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.  This new exhibition of the photographer’s work revisits the artist, whose groundbreaking 1996 retrospective, Herb Ritts: WORK, remains one of the most popular exhibitions in MFA history. The Ritts Foundation has given the Museum a print of every image in the 1996 exhibition, and in 2007, supported the MFA’s first gallery dedicated solely to photography. The Museum’s Herb Ritts and Clementine Brown galleries will host the new exhibition, which will feature an array of Ritts’ photographs celebrating the human body and embracing the carefree California lifestyle. Media sponsor is Boston Magazine. With support from the Benjamin A. Trustman and Julia M. Trustman Fund. See press release for more information.

Yours Sincerely, John S. Sargent

through November 15, 2015
Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery

The establishment of the John Singer Sargent Archive at the MFA was formed with a recent gift of letters, photographs and sketches that document the artist’s life and world, given by Richard Ormond (Sargent’s grand-nephew) and his wife Leonée, and Warren Adelson together with his wife, MFA Overseer Jan Adelson. The MFA is renowned for its collection of Sargent works, and the artist considered Boston to be his American home. With its holdings of paintings, sculpture, watercolors, drawings and murals by the artist, the MFA has the most comprehensive collection of Sargent’s art anywhere. The addition of the Sargent Archive makes the MFA the chief center for Sargent scholarship, bringing the artist’s era to life and enhancing understanding of the man and his work. In celebration of the gift, the exhibition will feature nearly 60 objects. Among the correspondence on view, 11 letters from Sargent to Claude Monet highlight his lifelong friendship and admiration for the French Impressionist master. Another letter, carefully written in a neat round hand, describes a certain portrait as a “masterpiece”—it is signed Amélie Gautreau, an appreciative sitter best known today as Madame X. Caricatures of Sargent by friends and fellow artists Henry Tonks and Max Beerbohm add a dose of humor to the typical view of this hard-working artist, while sketches, props and photographs of his studios illuminate his craft. Exhibition sponsored by Northern Trust.

Nature, Sculpture, Abstraction, and Clay: 100 Years of American Ceramics

Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery
through January 3, 2016

This exhibition explores ceramic art from the late 19th century to today–from the Arts and Crafts movement to Mid-Century Modernism to Studio Craft and Contemporary practice. Outstanding works that display the transformative nature of clay include objects drawn from the MFA’s rich holdings as well as a number of local private collections. The exhibition features more than 70 works–including recent acquisitions from the Daphne Farago Collection and The Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons Collection, given in honor of Jules and Jeannette Aarons–organized into three thematic sections: Sculpture and Abstraction, Nature and Landscape and Surface and Decoration. Many of the objects have never before been on display in a museum, with the majority making their MFA debut. 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 distinct style, examining how the potter has been redefined as an artist, and how ceramics have been redefined as a vehicle for artistic expression. Diverse highlights include The Pines tile manufactured by Grueby Faience Company around 1906-20, a Gourd-Shaped Vase by Gertrud and Otto Natzler from 1958 and a newly acquired porcelain sculpture, December (2013) by Cheryl Ann Thomas. Presented with generous support from the John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts. See press release for more information.

Crafted: Objects in Flux

Henry and Lois Foster Gallery 
through January 10, 2016

This exhibition explores a movement in “flux,” focusing on contemporary craft-based artists who are finding new ways to fully explore their disciplines. Featuring a selection of works from across the landscape of contemporary craft, the exhibition includes more than 30 emerging and established international artists, each of whom embraces and explores the increasingly blurred boundaries between art, craft and design. Looking to a broad range of materials and practices, the exhibition explores important issues including the connection between craft and performance; the role of new tools and materials; and the power of craft to interact with architecture. As the first exhibition of its kind within an encyclopedic museum, Crafted offers the opportunity to examine these works in proximity to historical examples in the MFA’s renowned collection. Featuring a variety of loans and new acquisitions, the exhibition demonstrates the vitality and viability of choosing skilled craft for contemporary artistic practice. An illustrated publication will accompany the exhibition.Presented with generous support from The Wornick Fund for Contemporary Craft. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by The John and Bette Cohen Fund for Contemporary Decorative Arts, the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. Generous support for this publication was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Publications Fund. Press release available on

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia

Lois and Michael Torf Gallery 
August 18, 2015–February 15, 2016

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia is the first large-scale, pan-American exhibition to examine the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Though this history is largely overlooked today, the Americas became a major destination for objects made in Asia beginning in the 16th century, and Asian influences can be found in places as far apart as Boston and Peru. Featuring nearly 100 of the most extraordinary objects produced in the colonial Americas, this exhibition relates the rich, complex story of how craftsmen throughout the hemisphere adapted Asian styles in a range of objects from furniture to silverwork, textiles, ceramics and painting. Exquisite objects from Mexico City, Lima, Quito, Quebec City, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, dating from the 17th to the early 19th centuries, include folding screens made in Mexico (in imitation of imported Japanese and Chinese screens), blue-and-white talavera ceramics (copied from imported Chinese porcelains), and luxuriously woven textiles (made to replicate fine silks and cottons imported from China and India). The timing of the exhibition marks the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico, which was inaugurated in 1565 and lasted for an astonishing two and a half centuries. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by a team of leading experts.  Presented with generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia” has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Additional support provided by The Huber Family Foundation and the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund. Press release available on

Pastoral to Pop: 20th-Century Britain on Paper

through February 21, 2016
Frances Vrachos Gallery

This survey of more than 50 British prints and drawings from the 20th century features rarely seen works from the MFA’s collection as well as recent acquisitions and loans. Ranging from a 1890s drawing of Brittany by Post-Impressionist Robert Bevan to a 1999 etching by Lucian Freud—perhaps the greatest figural artist of his generation—works on view present a surprising mixture of subjects and styles. A highlight of the exhibition is a selection of color linocuts made by Grosvenor School artists Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews and Lill Tschudi, while abstract works on view demonstrate the “Vorticist” style—a uniquely British variant of Futurism and Cubism. Other sections of the exhibition touch on landscape and architecture; differing depictions of the human figure (including works by Frank Auerbach and David Hockney); and the British Pop explosion of the 1960s. Presented with support from the Cordover Exhibition Fund.

Unfinished Stories: Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Collection

through February 21, 2016
Mary Stamas Gallery

The term “snapshot” was popularized shortly after the invention of Kodak’s box camera in the 1880s, and came to describe photographs of everyday life taken by a handheld camera. Now, over a century later, these once ubiquitous silver-based photographs are rapidly being replaced by Instagram and other digital forms of photography. This exhibition celebrates snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen collection of “vernacular” photographs. This avid collector rescued over 35,000 lost, discarded or disowned personal photographs dating back to 1890 and spanning the entire 20th century. In the process of endless searching for photographs at flea markets, antique shops, galleries, Ebay and private dealers, he found an array of mesmerizing, often humorous works that had been removed from their original contexts and depict a century of image-making by private photographers. In the exhibition, about 300 found photographs reveal the lives of strangers through intimate exposures that commemorate important events, document travel and celebrate everyday life. Presented with support from the Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions

Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia

Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery
through 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. For more information, please visit press release.

Landscape, Abstracted

On view in the Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria, Level 2; Hope and Mel Barkan Art Wall; and Michael D. Wolk Art Wall
through May 30, 2017

The Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art has been revitalized as the Upper Cohen Galleria adopts a new theme: Landscape, Abstracted. Approximately 10 newly installed works are 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 was 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). Funded by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation in loving memory of Rhonda S. Zinner. For more information, visit our press release.