The Spring Study event on May 15 is canceled.

Exclusively for the Denman Waldo Ross Society

Friday, May 15, 2020

The MFA is delighted to present this year’s Spring Study: Seminars for Collectors as a thank-you for your foresight and generosity as donors of works of art and acquisition support to the Museum.

Our remarkable curatorial staff has prepared a series of in-depth experiences unique in their range of topic, material, and perspective. Please join us for this special annual event available exclusively to the Ross Society!

For questions about the program, please contact the Gifts of Art office at



1–1:30 pm, Riley Seminar Room

Session 1

1:40–2:40 pm

Session 2

2:50–3:50 pm

Private Tea

4–5 pm, 465 Restaurant and Bar

Session 1 Descriptions

Join Emily Stoehrer and Ariana Bishop for a look at exciting new additions to the MFA’s jewelry, including a hand ornament designed by G. Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co.; a ruby and amethyst starfish brooch by Boivin that once belonged to the actress Claudette Colbert; and Charmed, a bracelet featuring work from dozens of contemporary jewelers.

Ariana Bishop is the Curatorial Research Associate for Jewelry. Ariana received a BA in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Delaware in 2017 and she plans to pursue a master’s degree in decorative arts with a focus on jewelry studies next year.

Emily Stoehrer is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry. Most recently, she co-curated “Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork” and curated “Past Is Present: Revival Jewelry.” Her writing has been in a number of publications, including Arts and Crafts Jewelry in Boston: Frank Gardner Hale and His Circle.

Go behind the scenes of “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” with curator Liz Munsell. The first major exhibition to contextualize Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work in relation to his peers, “Writing the Future” explores how this group’s subversive abstractions of visual and verbal language rocketed their creative voices onto the main stages of international art and music.

Liz Munsell is the Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art and Special Initiatives. She was previously a visiting curator at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Munsell holds a bachelor's from Tufts University and a master’s from the Universidad de Chile. Most recently, she curated the MFA’s “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu” in 2018.

Join curator Michelle Fisher to learn about new directions in contemporary craft, design, and decorative arts through innovative works in the MFA’s collection. Explore objects the Museum might collect and display, too, from experiments in ceramics to synthetic biology.

Michelle Millar Fisher is the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts. Her work investigates the confluence of power, people, and design. She previously worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Session 2 Descriptions

The MFA has one of the finest collections of Asian Art in the world. As the Museum celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020, curators are considering what to collect in the next 150 years. Hear from curator Christina Yu Yu as she shares the Museum’s strategies for collecting Asian art in the 21st century.

Christina Yu Yu is the Matsutaro Shoriki Chair of the Art of Asia Department. Before joining the MFA, Yu served as the Inaugural Director of the USC Pacific Asia Museum, and before that as Assistant Curator of Chinese and Korean Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Yu holds graduate degrees from Boston University and the University of Chicago.

The Civil War had a major impact on American art. How could the traditional arts grapple with such a profound conflict? With curator Ethan Lasser, consider the responses of two artists to war and the brutal realities of enslavement. Winslow Homer was a northern painter whose career began on the battlefield. Enslaved on a South Carolina plantation, David Drake, known as Dave the Potter, inscribed poems onto his pots at a time when it was illegal for slaves to read and write.

Ethan W. Lasser is the John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas. In his prior positions at the Harvard Art Museums and the Chipstone Foundation, Lasser curated exhibitions on collecting in early America, 19th-century African American art, and the journalistic eye of Winslow Homer. He graduated from Williams College and received a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University.

Over a century ago, the MFA received an important collection of Navajo textiles from Boston engineer and antiquarian John Ware Willard. With curator Jennifer Swope, explore key selections from Willard’s Navajo weaving collection and a recent gift of Hopi weaving with similar provenance, and learn how these donations have made the art and culture of the Southwest more accessible.

Jennifer Swope is Assistant Curator in the David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts. A graduate of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, she was previously a curator at Historic New England and co-curator of the MFA’s “Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection.” She is currently working on an exhibition on American quilts and bed covers that opens October 2020.