Museum Council Steering Committee
Friday, January 8, 2016

The MFA’s Frederick Ilchman, Chair and Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of Paintings, Art of Europe; Jen Mergel, Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art; Ben Weiss, Chair and Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Visual Culture, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Melissa de Friesse, and Alicia Nichols, as well as Council Chair, Emi Winterer, recently coordinated an extraordinary two days in New York for the IFPDA Print Fair. Dawn Belizaire, a member of the Council’s Steering Committee, was one of the attendees, and while some stories might be best left to cocktails, the following are a few highlights of her trip that included exquisite art, private tours, museums off the beaten path, and fabulous company!

… First, a familiar face in a new location: Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom, now at the Met. The artist was there to greet the group, and Hadley Planting happily received the gift of song! Then, the luxury of visiting the fair with Frederick, Jen, and Ben! One of my reasons for joining the council—besides the amazing company, of course—was to learn from the MFA’s knowledgeable (and personable!) curators. At the Fair, they encouraged us to learn, ask questions, begin shaping our own collections, and to look beyond what we might find alone. We wrapped up the evening with a private collection visit. Our hosts welcomed us into their home and shared their remarkable collection of 17th-century French ceramics. It was wonderful to hear what they find meaningful about collecting and see how they live with their art.

Saturday began at Dieu Donné, a nonprofit studio for handmade paper art. Kathleen Flynn and Paul Wong showed us past projects (including paper ice cream cones by Jonathan Seliger that looked good enough to eat!) and gave a paper-making demonstration. We visited the Frank Stella Retrospective at the Whitney with Caroline Barnett, who spoke about the delights of collaborating with the artist to put together the exhibition. Then we enjoyed a private tour of “Sacred Spaces” with Elena Pakhoutova at the Rubin Museum, including a peaceful Tibetan Buddhist Temple Room. After returning to the Print Fair—many of us to purchase must-haves—we toasted our time together with cocktails and a Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at the Pace Gallery with Susan Dunne.

Can’t wait to see you all on the next trip! Venice, anyone?

Watch a video for more highlights from the 2015 NYC IFPDA Print Fair.

Photo by Melissa deFriesse, 2015.