July 3, 2021–August 22, 2022

New Light: Encounters and Connections

Art from the MFA’s collection—new and old—in dialogue for the first time

Spanning cultures and geographies, and sometimes millennia too, “New Light: Encounters and Connections” presents more than 60 works of art from across the MFA’s collection, many of which are on view for the first time.

The exhibition is organized into 21 “conversations”—in each, a contemporary piece that has recently joined the collection is juxtaposed with one or two rarely seen objects acquired earlier in the Museum’s history. The contemporary pieces include work by emerging as well as local or Boston-born artists—among them Dana C. Chandler Jr., Alison Croney Moses, Eben Haines, Stephen Hamilton, Tomashi Jackson, and Lavaughan Jenkins. The objects in conversation with these recent additions range from an ancient Egyptian carving of a princess to experimental miniature vases made by French ceramicist Auguste Delaherche. Placed in dialogue, these objects, old and new, invite visitors to explore an array of subjects. A portrait by Stephen Hamilton featuring weaving and dyeing techniques learned in Nigeria engages 20th-century textiles from southwestern Nigeria and Gee’s Bend, Alabama, in a meditation on ancestral heritage, while encounters elsewhere address childcare, queer communities, and Native resistance, among other topics.

Together, these conversations reveal the potential of every addition to the collection to spark unexpected connections and new narratives.

  • Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)
  • Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)


Generously supported by the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions. Additional support from the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates, the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund, The Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions, and the Diane Krane Family and Jonathan and Gina Krane Family Fund.