Friends and Families Gather for Outdoor Films, Concerts and Art-Making Activities
BOSTON (June 14, 2017)—Visitors can stay cool this summer with artful experiences meant for sharing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Open seven days a week—until 10 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays—and with kids visiting free all season, there’s something for everyone during “Summer at the MFA.” Special exhibitions will take visitors on a tour of Inuit prints from the Arctic, psychedelic rock posters from 1960s San Francisco, and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. Baseball fans heading to Fenway Park won’t want to miss a special display of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’s championship rings, on view from Father’s Day weekend through Labor Day. A new “Sunset Cinema” series will transform the MFA’s campus into an open-air theater on three separate occasions, while the annual Elaine and Jerome Rosenfeld Concerts in the Courtyard return on Wednesday evenings in July and August, showcasing the hottest bands from Boston and around the globe. Families can participate in art-making activities throughout the summer—from building an inukshuk during a Canada Day celebration on July 1 to making nature-inspired prints during Free Fun Friday on July 21. Kids of all ages can explore the Museum’s collection using fun, educational materials from the Family Art Cart, while toddlers can enjoy story time and looking activities during monthly MFA Playdates. Additionally, an outdoor café will be set up on the MFA’s Huntington Avenue lawn on Wednesday evenings, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, throughout the summer, where visitors and passersby can purchase gelato, sandwiches and cold drinks and enjoy them under umbrellas painted by students from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
Thursday evenings, July 13, August 17 and September 14
Visitors are invited to picnic on the Huntington lawn, create their own plein-air artwork and socialize over lawn games before settling in for “Sunset Cinema.” Three free events will showcase the diversity of the MFA Film program: the sharp-witted comedy Divorce French Style (July 13) marks the opening night of the Boston French Film Festival; the hard-hitting drama Cool Hand Luke (August 17) is part of the series Feed Your Head: Films from 1967, which coincides with the exhibition The Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design); and the groundbreaking horror flick Get Out (September 14) is presented in collaboration with the Roxbury International Film Festival. Beer, wine and snacks will be available for purchase.
Elaine and Jerome Rosenfeld Concerts in the Courtyard
Wednesday evenings, July 5–August 30
Nothing feels more like summer in the city than Concerts in the Courtyard. The season-long series brings Buffy Sainte-Marie (July 5), Blick Bassy (July 12), Tank and the Bangas (July 19), Las Cafeteras (July 26), Ruby Rose Fox (August 2), Banda Magda (August 9), Patty Larkin (August 16), Debo Band and Alsarah & the Nubatones (August 23) and Traveller (August 30) to play the outdoor stage tucked inside the MFA’s Calderwood Courtyard. New this year, the Museum’s Bravo restaurant turns its patio into an exclusive outdoor lounge for MFA members and their guests, where they can enjoy the music with cocktails and al fresco dining.
The MFA presents its fifth annual Juneteenth event in partnership with Epicenter Community, inviting visitors to celebrate creativity, community and freedom. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., dating back to June 19, 1865. Visitors are invited to explore the galleries on a tour or talk and learn about the Museum’s collection of art by African American artists, focusing on the exhibition Wilson/Cortor; join local visual artists, poets and musicians for one-of-a-kind demonstrations and performances; and catch a screening from this year’s Roxbury International Film Festival. Additionally, a City Talk titled “Revolution” features a panel discussion around the meaning of revolution to and within communities of color, and playwright, director and saxophonist Jeff Robinson performs his one-man play Live Bird about jazz legend Charlie “Bird” Parker.
The Roxbury International Film Festival
June 21–July 1
The largest New England film festival dedicated to celebrating films by, for and about people of color, the 19th annual Roxbury International Film Festival gives voice to diverse cultures both local and worldwide through narrative, documentary, youth and experimental films.
On the 150th celebration of the Canadian Federation, the MFA opens the exhibition Follow the North Star: Inuit Art from the Collection of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh and offers an afternoon of special art-making activities on the front lawn. Families can drop by to build an inukshuk—a stone structure found in the Arctic that often resembles a person and serves as a wayfinding device—and add their creative mark to an animal-inspired collaborative project. Children are invited to share their dreams for the future of the Earth by writing them down and dropping them into the belly of a seven-foot-tall owl sculpture, based on a print by Kenojuak Ashevak on view in the exhibition.
The Boston French Film Festival
The 22nd annual edition of MFA Film’s most popular festival returns with a diverse selection of the very best new French cinema. Highlights from this year’s lineup include Divorce French Style, a razor-sharp comedy screened outdoors as part of “Sunset Cinema;” Slack Bay, a surreal dark comedy with a spot-on performance by Juliet Binoche; The Odyssey, a sun-drenched biopic about oceanographer Jacques Cousteau starring Audrey Tatou and Pierre Niney; and Personal Shopper, a taut and seductive ghost story starring Kristen Stewart.
Free Fun Friday
The MFA offers free admission on its 9th annual Highland Street Foundation Free Fun Friday, inviting visitors of all ages to participate in hands-on art-making activities, join engaging tours and see thought-provoking exhibitions. The MFA is one of 85 cultural venues around the Commonwealth offering free admission on select Fridays this summer, thanks to support from the Highland Street Foundation.
Admission to the MFA is free all summer for children ages 17 and under. The MFA Guide Kids’ Tour, available for rent at any ticket desk and the Sharf Visitor Center, introduces young visitors ages 6 to 10 to the Art of the Americas and Contemporary collections. The Family Art Cart (available Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am–4 pm, in July and August) offers fun, educational activities designed for children ages 4 and older to enjoy with adults. Additionally, families can always stop by the Sharf Visitor Center to check out a red tote bag filled with self-guided activities, a sketchpad and colored pencils.
Please note: Strollers are allowed in all galleries; however, there may be restrictions in the Gund Gallery if crowds are large. Baby-changing areas are located in restrooms throughout the Museum, and a quiet, private nursing room is available off of the Mary Stamas and Frances Vrachos Hemicycle Gallery. The Garden Cafeteria, located on the Courtyard Level in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, is open daily from 10:30 am–4 pm and features a salad bar, pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, soups, snacks, desserts and value meals for adults and kids. The New American Café, located in the Shapiro Family Courtyard, also features a kids’ menu.
July 3 and 15, August 7 and 19
Toddlers can enjoy story time and looking activities in the galleries, followed by art making. Each month focuses on a new theme—“Furry Friends” in July and “Making Your Mark” in August. Playdates are recommended for children ages four and younger with adults.
David Ortiz: King of the Diamond
Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art
June 17–September 4, 2017
The MFA steps up to the plate to celebrate the career of Red Sox icon David Ortiz with a special display of his World Series Championship rings from 2004, 2007 and 2013, opening in time for Father’s Day weekend. Ortiz’s 2013 World Series MVP ring will be added to the installation a week later, coinciding with the retirement of his number at Fenway Park. The rings are designed in collaboration with the Red Sox by Jostens Inc., which has been creating championship rings for more than 60 years. Each one is decorated on three sides, and the interiors are engraved with dates and messages celebrating significant aspects of the team’s World Series season.
China’s 8 Brokens: Puzzles of the Treasured Past
June 17–October 29, 2017
This is the first-ever museum exhibition dedicated to bapo (“eight brokens”) painting, a revolutionary artistic genre that emerged in China during the mid-19th-century. Bapo refers to the damaged cultural ephemera hyper-realistically depicted in the works—worm-eaten calligraphies, partial book pages, burned paintings, remnants of rubbings and torn-open letters. The term “eight brokens” also alludes to the hidden messages of the images—often wishes for good fortune. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and broken, or less-than-complete, objects can also have favorable implications, since perfection could bring about misfortune. Visitors are invited to decipher the visual puzzles presented in the paintings, many of which are recent acquisitions and on view to the public for the first time.
Follow the North Star: Inuit Art from the Collection of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh
Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery
July 1–December 31, 2017
Opening on the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, this exhibition presents a selection of Inuit prints from the collection of renowned portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife Estrellita, both longtime supporters of the MFA. Included are works by key Inuit artists such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Agnes Nanogak, Jessie Oonark, Pudlo Pudlat and Lucy Qinnuayuak. The prints come largely from the printmaking cooperative at Cape Dorset, north of Hudson Bay, where printmaking was introduced around 1959. Most are stone-cuts, handprinted from blocks of soapstone in which the images are carved in relief. The works are organized thematically, with sections focusing on family and daily life; hunting; shamans and myths; and tradition and the incursion of the modern world. In addition to the prints, the exhibition features a number of small-scale sculptures, and is accompanied by a visitor guide, available for free in the gallery.
The Summer of Love: Photography and Graphic Design
Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery
July 6–October 22, 2017
In celebration of the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary, this exhibition explodes with a profusion of more than 120 posters, album covers and photographs from the transformative years around 1967. That summer, fueled by sensational stories in the national media, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood became a mecca for thousands seeking an alternative to the constrictions of postwar American society. A new graphic vocabulary emerged in posters commissioned to advertise weekly rock concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom, with bands such as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Janis Joplin-led Big Brother & The Holding Company. A group of more than 50 concert posters highlights experiments with psychedelic graphic design and meandering typography—often verging on the illegible. These include works by Wes Wilson, who took inspiration from earlier art movements such as the Vienna Secession, and Victor Moscoso, whose studies of color theory with Josef Albers at Yale University translated into striking use of bright, saturated colors in his own designs. A grid of 25 album covers traces the influence of the famously amorphous lettering in the Beatles’ 1965 album Rubber Soul on countless covers and posters from later in the decade. At the heart of the exhibition is a group of 32 photographs by Herb Greene, a pioneering member of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture. Many of his iconic images document the city’s burgeoning music scene, while a selection from a newly published portfolio offers a glimpse at everyday life in the Haight during the fabled summer of 1967.
Charles Sheeler from Doylestown to Detroit
Clementine Brown Gallery
July 22–November 5, 2017
This exhibition celebrates the MFA’s unparalleled holdings of works by Charles Sheeler (1883–1965), presenting 40 photographs from three significant series created during the heyday of his career as a founder of American modernism. After enjoying success as a painter, Sheeler initially took up photography as a way to make a living. His experiments with the medium included the 1916-17 series of photographs capturing various elements of an 18th-century house he rented in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The sequence of stark, geometric compositions was among the most abstract and avant-garde work being made in the US at the time—created in response to the Cubist art of Picasso and Braque that Sheeler had previously encountered in Europe. In 1920, Sheeler collaborated with fellow photographer Paul Strand on the short film Manhatta, presenting dramatic views of lower Manhattan. Abstract stills from the 35mm film, which was shot from steep angles, are presented alongside larger prints of Sheeler’s cinematic images of New York City, produced shortly after Manhatta—which he used as source material for his paintings. The exhibition culminates with the 1927 photographs of the Ford Motor Company plant in River Rouge, Michigan, commissioned to celebrate the introduction of Ford’s Model A. The cathedral-like scenes convey an optimism for American industry, and are now considered icons of Machine Age photography. All of the photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the Museum’s Lane Collection—one of the finest private holdings of 20th-century American art in the world, including Sheeler’s entire photographic estate—given to the MFA in 2012.
Alfred Stieglitz and Modern America
Herb Ritts Gallery
July 22–November 5, 2017
This exhibition presents a selection of the MFA’s exceptional holdings of works by Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946), the great American impresario of photography at the turn of the 20th century. Featuring 36 photographs, the exhibition showcases fine examples of his New York views, portraits and photographs that Stieglitz took at his family’s country home at Lake George. The New York views reveal the artist’s lifelong interest in the urban city, from his early explorations of the picturesque effects of rain, snow and nightfall to later ones that focus on the inherent geometry of modernity’s rising architectural structures. The portraits include 10 images from Stieglitz’s magnificent extended series of images of his wife, the celebrated painter Georgia O’Keeffe—a “portrait in time” that reflects his ideals of modern womanhood and is evocative of their close relationship. These portraits are accompanied by additional images of members of his family and friends. The Lake George photographs include, in addition to views of the family property, a sequence of the mystical cloud studies that Stieglitz called “equivalents,” which explore the interpretation of inner states of being. Many of the photographs on view were donated by Stieglitz to the MFA in 1924—making it one of the first museums in the US to collect photography as fine art. Enhanced by an additional gift from O’Keeffe in 1950, the MFA’s Stieglitz holdings form an outstanding survey of the photographer’s career, as well as the cornerstone of the Museum’s photography collection.
Conservation in Action: Demons and Demon Quellers
Asian Paintings Gallery
July 29, 2017–February 4, 2018
Museum visitors are invited to watch as the Asian Conservation Studio restores a 12-foot portrait of the mythological demon queller Marshal Xin, a “Thunder General,” dating back to China’s Ming dynasty and on view to the public for the first time. Marshal Xin was an impressive figure in Daoism, the popular belief system in imperial China, with powers to control ghosts and spirits, summon thunder and rain, and avert evil. The MFA’s 16th-century portrait may have once hung in a county government temple for use in ceremonies to protect all local citizens. The six-month conservation treatment involves completely dismantling and reassembling the entire work—a complicated construction in which the painting and mount form an inseparable unit, unlike most Western paintings and their frames. Conservators will also restore the painted image and original silk support. At times, visitors will be able to observe the elaborate process unfold, as well as interact with conservators at work. The hanging scroll will be surrounded by about 20 other works depicting demons and demon quellers, including an important 15th-century Chinese handscroll featuring the deity Erlang and his army battling mountain demons who have taken the form of beautiful women, as well as a Korean painting that shows demons tormenting sinners in the Buddhist hells. Japanese demonology will be represented with an assortment of paintings and prints that includes the 19th-century hanging scroll Night Procession of the Hundred Demons. Additionally, Mr. Sea (2014) by Beijing-based artist Geng Xue will be screened in the gallery, showcasing how traditional tales of demons and ghosts continue to influence contemporary culture. The animated film, featuring blue-and-white porcelain figures, recreates a supernatural adventure from Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, a famous 18th-century collection of ghost stories.
Showdown! Kuniyoshi vs. Kunisada
Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery
August 11–December 10, 2017
Rival artists Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864) were the two bestselling designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. Kunisada was the popular favorite during his lifetime, famous for realistic portraits of Kabuki theater actors, sensual images of beautiful women and the luxurious settings he imagined for historical scenes. Kuniyoshi is beloved by today’s connoisseurs and collectors for his dynamic action scenes of tattooed warriors and supernatural monsters—foreshadowing present-day manga and anime—as well as comic prints and a few especially daring works that feature forbidden political satire in disguise. The exhibition presents a selection of 100 works, drawn entirely from the MFA’s preeminent Japanese collection. Many of these, including large, multi-sheet images in brilliant color, are on view in the US for the first time. Viewers are invited to decide for themselves which of the two artists is their personal favorite. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods.
The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.