Advance Exhibition Schedule

Upcoming Exhibitions and Galleries

Title Dates
Community Arts Initiative: Our Family Portrait May 18–October 27, 2024
Beyond Brilliance: Highlights from the Jewelry Collection Opening May 18, 2024
Barbara Bosworth: The Meadow May 25–December 1, 2024
Hyman Bloom: Landscapes of the Mind May 25–December 1, 2024
Dalí: Disruption and Devotion July 6–December 1, 2024

Current Exhibitions

Title Dates
The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani through June 23, 2024
Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party through June 24, 2024
Hallyu! The Korean Wave through July 28, 2024
Dress Up through September 2, 2024
Songs for Modern Japan: Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900–1950 through September 2, 2024
Toshiko Takaezu: Shaping Abstraction through September 29, 2024
Ancestors and Place: Indigenous North American Prints through October 14, 2024
Thinking Small: Dutch Art to Scale through November 3, 2024
Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection through July 28, 2025
French Salon Gallery Opened August 2022
Art of the Italian Renaissance Galleries Opened August 2022
Intentional Beauty: Jewish Ritual Art from the Collection Opened December 2023
Stories Artists Tell: Art of the Americas, the 20th Century Ongoing
Hank Willis Thomas: Remember Me Ongoing

Please contact Public Relations to verify titles and dates before publication: pr@mfa.org.


Upcoming Exhibitions and New Galleries

Community Arts Initiative: Our Family Portrait

Edward H. Linde Gallery (Gallery 168)
May 18–October 27, 2024

For Our Family Portrait, Boston-based artist Timothy Hyunsoo Lee (American, born Seoul, 1990) guided more than 150 students through creating cyanotype prints representing their biological and chosen families. This exhibition brings their works together into a large-scale installation in the MFA’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art—a reflection of the students’ communities and a celebration of the diversity of faces and voices contained within.

The group’s creative process began with considering relevant artworks within the MFA’s collection, including family portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn, William Matthew Prior, and Erastus Salisbury Field as well as a contemporary sculpture by Lucia Hierro. The students then learned to make cyanotypes—one of the earliest forms of photography, which produces distinctive blue-toned prints. Their collaborative artwork—the culmination of meaningful conversations and art-making workshops that took place over several months—is displayed alongside several works from the MFA’s contemporary collection and two new examples by Lee. To represent the idea of home as a landscape as well as the community shared between families and friends, David Hockney’s Garrowby Hill (1998) will hang with portraits by Charles Allston and Alice Neel. Several works of contemporary American, Japanese and Korean ceramics and glass will also complement a focus on the transmission of craft traditions across time and continents.

Our Family Portrait marks the 19th year of the Community Arts Initiative, through which the MFA partners with community organizations to introduce young people ages six to 12 to the Museum’s collection and the art-making process, while also helping them understand how art can be an important part of their lives. For this exhibition, through the Community Arts Initiative, the Museum is proud to partner with 12 community organizations including Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Sociedad Latina, United South End Settlements (USES), West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton, and Vine Street Community Center. Additionally, we are also proud to partner with six of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston: Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Gerald and Darlene Jordan Boys & Girls Club, Orchard Gardens Boys & Girls Club, and the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury.

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in New York City, Lee is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores the relationship between bodies, borders and rituals. He references legacies of history and tradition and often subverts their presentation through queer abstractions and other forms of deterioration. In addition to Our Family Portrait, Lee’s work is featured in the MFA’s exhibition Hallyu! The Korean Wave.

Beyond Brilliance: Highlights from the Jewelry Collection

Opening May 18, 2024

The newly renovated Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery features 150 highlights from the Museum’s world-renowned jewelry collection. The gallery spotlights ancient artifacts, fine jewelry, costume jewelry and jewelry by contemporary artists while exploring themes of decorative arts, adornment and messaging. Highlights include an ancient Egyptian broad collar necklace; 19th-century works by Castellani and Carlo Giuliano; 20th-century designs by Marcus & Co., Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari; René Boivin’s starfish brooch from 1937; and fashion jewelry by Chanel, Dior, and Elsa Peretti. Also featured are new acquisitions of contemporary jewelry by Christian and Yasmin Hemmerle, Wallace Chan and Feng J. With ornaments crafted over 4,000 years and reflecting global cultures, Beyond Brilliance: Highlights from the Jewelry Collection champions the great depth and breadth of the MFA’s collection.

Barbara Bosworth: The Meadow

Herb Ritts Gallery (Gallery 169)
May 25–December 1, 2024

In 1996 artist Barbara Bosworth (b. 1953) began photographing a meadow in Carlisle, Massachusetts, just northwest of Boston. Returning regularly over the next 15 years, she used a large-format camera to capture images of the land at different times of day and in all seasons. Through the resulting series of photos, called The Meadow, Bosworth carries on a long-standing tradition of New England artists, poets, and naturalists who have chronicled the passage of time and traces of human presence in beautiful yet quietly unspectacular landscapes like this one.

Featuring a dozen large-format color photographs as well as several small contact prints, this exhibition gives visitors a glimpse into Bosworth’s unique and evolving vision of the meadow. Although seemingly humble and unassuming, the area, as rendered patiently through Bosworth’s lens, reveals a rich diversity of life—from an ever-changing expanse of sky above to a profusion of native ferns, flowers, fireflies, lichen, mushrooms, caterpillars, apple trees, and even ants below.

Together with her friend, writer Margot Anne Kelley, Bosworth invited scientists, urban foragers, archeologists, and local historians on walks through the meadow. With the help of their expertise she came to better understand the land that provided her subject matter. The meadow is located in a part of Carlisle that once was Concord (founded in 1635), and stands not far from the Concord River. Originally called Musketaquid—meaning “marsh grass river” in the Algonquian language—the area was hunted, fished, and cultivated by Native peoples for thousands of years. European settlers gradually transformed the landscape into farming fields and pastures but, more recently, some of it, including the meadow, has been set aside as conservation land protected from development.

Hyman Bloom: Landscapes of the Mind

Clementine Brown Gallery (Gallery 170)
May 25–December 1, 2024

In 1955 Hyman Bloom (1913–2009) began visiting the small town of Lubec, Maine—at that time a good ten-hour drive from his home in Boston. Lubec’s unspoiled forests inspired him to draw with ambition, focus, and scale that few of his contemporaries came close to matching. The resulting works reveal a desire to capture the primal character of the wilderness—its life cycle of birth, death, and transformation—as well as a pervading mysticism and belief in nature’s correspondence to the psyche.

“Hyman Bloom: Landscapes of the Mind” invites visitors into the artist’s imagination to experience nature as he did. Focused on Bloom’s drawings, the works on view brilliantly communicate volume, shading, light, and line, showing Bloom to be a technically gifted draftsman who holds his own with any other in history. These are not one-to-one copies of what Bloom saw; they pull from memory and photographs he took in the woods, but are essentially colored by a one-of-a-kind creative vision. At once imaginary and real, Bloom’s drawings bring art to life through a distinct and innate ability to conjure the spirit.

Many works in the exhibition are part of a gift from Stella Bloom, the artist’s widow. This transformational gift helps the MFA in its aspiration to become the collection of record for this important Boston artist.

Dalí: Disruption and Devotion

Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)
July 6–December 1, 2024

The outlandish and iconoclastic artist Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) is famous for his bizarre imagery and distinctive Surrealist vision. He was, however, also deeply rooted in tradition. Dalí studied, emulated, and indeed revered his European predecessors from centuries past, embracing influences from Spain, the Low Countries, and Italy throughout his long career.

Dalí: Disruption and Devotion juxtaposes nearly 30 paintings and prints on loan from the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, with European masterpieces from the MFA’s collection, including portraits, religious scenes, and still-lifes by El Greco, Orazio Gentileschi, and Velázquez, among others. In addition to these illuminating pairings, the exhibition features some of Dalí’s best-known works, such as Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952–54). Other examples reveal optical illusions and double images—hallmarks of Surrealism—while the monumental Ecumenical Council (1960) highlights Dalí’s technical mastery. By seeing him in dialogue with great painters and printmakers who came before him, visitors can experience a unique take on one of the most celebrated avant-garde artists of the 20th century.

Current Exhibitions

The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani

Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria (Gallery 265)
through June 23, 2024

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, artist Sheida Soleimani (born 1990) constructs elaborate and surreal tableaux in her studio. She then photographs these meticulously prepared sets, which incorporate mixed-media backdrops, props and symbols. Models are central to each scene, but their faces are always hidden, providing an air of anonymity, if not universality, and shifting focus to their gestures.

For her Banner Project, Soleimani has photographed her parents with their backs to the camera, each raising a single fist. This pose, often associated with solidarity and unity, is one of many clues in the pictures that indicate her parents are political dissidents: Iranian refugees who fled their home to avoid persecution. Soleimani’s photographs shield her parents while providing suggestive, layered signs pointing to the sociopolitical landscape that shapes their lives. Picturing a variety of objects—each a different material representation of Soleimani’s parents’ experiences and stories—these banners invite visitors to follow traces, unpack allusions and draw connections to the wave of protests taking place across Iran today.

This is part of an ongoing series of commissions that engages artists to create banners for display in the Museum’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.

Supported by the Trust Family Contemporary Exhibition Fund.

Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party

Frances Vrachos Gallery / Mary Stamas Gallery (Gallery 148)
through June 24, 2024

For more than five decades photojournalist Stephen Shames (b. 1947) has used his work to call attention to a wide range of social issues—from the rights of children to poverty, race, and climate change. In 1965, while still a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Shames became the official photographer of the Black Panther Party at the invitation of party cofounder Bobby Seale. From then until 1973 he made hundreds of powerful images capturing the Panthers’ activities. Many record the everyday lives and critical work of the women who comprised more than 65 percent of the party’s membership.

This exhibition brings together 27 photographs by Shames that feature the women, or “comrade sisters,” as they were known, of the Black Panther party. They document the efforts these women undertook at community schools, free medical clinics, voter registration sites, community nutrition programs, and elder care centers across the United States, and some feature party leaders such as Ericka Huggins and Kathleen Cleaver. Shames’s photos reframe the male-dominated reputation of the Black Panthers, making it clear that the party’s unsung women were at the very heart of the collective movement—and ensuring the lasting legacy of the comrade sisters in the process.

Hallyu! The Korean Wave

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)
through July 28, 2024

Today, South Korea is a cultural superpower—a global trendsetter producing award-winning films like Parasite, riveting dramas like Squid Game, and chart-topping music by K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink. But behind the country’s meteoric rise to the world stage—a phenomenon known as the Korean Wave, or hallyu—is the story of remarkable resilience and innovation.

Making its U.S. debut at the MFA, Hallyu! The Korean Wave features more than 200 objects—costumes, props, photographs, videos, pop culture ephemera and contemporary works that highlight Korea’s transformative contributions to cinema, drama, music, fashion, beauty and technology.

Just a century ago, Korea was in search of a new national identity, following its occupation by Japan and the Korean War. Harnessing cutting-edge technology, the country has rapidly transformed its economy and international reputation. At the same time, its creative outputs are deeply rooted in its past, with many contemporary artists, filmmakers, musicians, and fashion designers paying tribute to traditional values and art forms dating back to Korea’s dynastic kingdom days.

Among the exhibition highlights are outfits worn by different generations of K-pop idols, dresses by couture designer Park Sohee and Next in Fashion winner Minju Kim, a large-scale needlework designed by South Korean artist Kyungah Ham and made by anonymous embroiderers from North Korea, and pieces exploring the Korean American experience by Timothy Hyunsoo Lee and Julia Kwon. Additionally, Hallyu! showcases objects from the MFA’s own renowned collection of Korean art, from examples of the iconic moon jar and hanbok to an elaborately decorated gilt bronze case for sutras, the sacred Buddhist texts.

“Hallyu! The Korean Wave” is created by the V&A—touring the world. The exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is generously supported by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. Additional support from the Museum Council Special Exhibition Fund.

Dress Up

Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)
through September 2, 2024

One's choice of dress can make a political statement, express a mood or communicate personal identities. Through more than 100 works from the MFA’s collection, Dress Up celebrates 20th- and 21st-century style with fashions by Alexander McQueen, Bob Mackie, Patrick Kelly and Oscar de la Renta; jewelry from designers like Hattie Carnegie and Elsa Peretti; accessories by designers like Thom Solo and illustrations and photographs by Cecil Beaton and Martin Parr.

Grounded in a major gift from the Toronto-based costume jewelry collector Carole Tanenbaum, this exhibition removes the delineation between fashion and jewelry to focus on how they play an integral and inseparable role in self-fashioning.

Dress Up features a myriad of new acquisitions and several pieces from the Museum’s existing fashion and jewelry collection—many of which have never been on view before, including shoes and dresses from the collection of Donna Summer; and a ring by Of Rare Origin, a version of which was worn by Amanda Gorman to the 2020 Presidential Inauguration. Spectacular loans include an ensemble from Iris Apfel from the Peabody Essex Museum and cuff bracelets designed by Fulco di Verdura for Gabrielle “Coco'' Chanel.

“Dress Up” is generously supported by The Coby Foundation, Northern Trust, and the David and Roberta Logie Fund for Textile and Fashion Arts. Additional support from the Loring Textile Gallery Exhibition Fund, and the Fashion Council.

Songs for Modern Japan: Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900–1950

Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)
through September 2, 2024

Japan experienced a whirlwind of change between 1900 and 1950. At the turn of the century, Western music notation had become a sign of modernity, helping spread jazz and Broadway to Tokyo cafes and nightclubs, and promoting Japanese film music both inside and outside Japan. Increasing modernism, consumerism and influence from the West came alongside a revolution in sound and mass-produced images from movies and radio.

Songs for Modern Japan: Popular Music and Graphic Design, 1900–1950 explores how sheet music covers provide a window into Japanese society and culture during this period of immense transformation. Visitors discover how leading Japanese graphic designers of the day interpreted modernist international art movements like Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and how demand for military sheet music with propagandist images grew in the 1920s and ’30s, reflecting the country’s imperialist aspirations. Through investigating styles of graphic design, bold typography, genres of music and the societal environment in Japan, visitors get a glimpse of how design and music celebrating modernity and globalism gave way to endorsing nationalism.

About 100 sheet music covers—alongside paintings, photographs, textiles, music, film clips and musical instruments from the period—capture the dynamic effects of international artistic exchange and the profound societal shifts in a globalizing Japan. The exhibition presents an opportunity to draw parallels between this pivotal time in Japan’s history and today.

Toshiko Takaezu: Shaping Abstraction

Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries
through September 29, 2024

Born in Hawaii to immigrant parents from Okinawa, Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) was a technically masterful and innovative artist best known for her ceramic sculptures, which she treated as abstract paintings in the round. Her gestural style, distinctive palettes and complex layering of glazes align with the practices of Abstract Expressionists who were her contemporaries. Yet, Takaezu introduced an added element of chance as her pieces only revealed their final colors after firing. She often showed her ceramics in groups, sometimes with her equally innovative paintings and textiles, in carefully constructed arrangements that responded to their environment. This exhibition takes inspiration from these displays, tracing Takaezu’s development from potter to multimedia installation artist.

The MFA holds a significant collection of Takaezu’s pottery—more than 20 examples are featured here alongside loans from private collections. Highlights also include a large-scale weaving that has been recently acquired by the Museum and a grouping of works that explores the artist’s cross-cultural interactions with contemporary Japanese ceramicists during her pivotal eight-month trip to Japan in 1955–56. In conjunction with the exhibition, an additional display in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art juxtaposes Takaezu’s work with that of her longtime friend, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

Challenging traditional presentations of American abstraction, the exhibition celebrates the extraordinary range of Takaezu’s work—aiming to make her contributions more widely known.

Supported by the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund, The Amy and Jonathan Poorvu Fund for the Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Sculpture, and the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund.  

The exhibition would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Toshiko Takaezu Foundation and The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. The Noguchi Museum has organized a major touring retrospective, Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within, which will open in New York in March 2024 and will travel nationally through 2026.

Ancestors and Place: Indigenous North American Prints

Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery (Gallery LG26)
through October 14, 2024

The words ancestors and place have many connotations, but for Indigenous peoples, they are tied to all things. Place extends beyond a single location to encompass land, water, and sky. Ancestors are those not only human, but nonhuman too, that are living elements of a place. Some Native artists have used the collaborative medium of printmaking as a way of honoring these deeply connected concepts and reminding us that, though many Indigenous ancestral lands were lost to colonization, relationships to these places and the communities they nurtured endure.

Celebrating a growing area of the MFA’s collection, “Ancestors and Place: Indigenous North American Prints” features more than 30 works—most of them recent acquisitions—by Indigenous artists from the United States and Canada that explore nuanced ideas of stewardship. The works recognize place as a blessing but also something to take care of—for the past, present, and future. Mostly created through residencies at print studios such as Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, Tamarind Institute, and High Point, these prints show artists pushing their practices into new directions, experimenting with and reconceptualizing subjects significant to them and their communities.

Both emerging and established artists are featured, including Wendy Red Star, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, James Lavadour, and Raven Chacon. Beyond making art, some, like Smith, are also activists, driven by a desire to improve cultural and political representation for Native Americans. Rooted in their specific communities, these prints demonstrate the creativity and experimentation of diverse contemporary artists.

This exhibition is organized in collaboration with artist and professor Duane Slick (Meskwaki/Ho-Chunk). It follows a previous exhibition of Indigenous North American prints, which explored resilience, on view between November 2023 and March 2024.

Thinking Small: Dutch Art to Scale

William A. Coolidge Gallery (The Center for Netherlandish Art’s Gallery for Innovative Scholarship, Gallery 243A)
through November 3, 2024

A collaboration between the MFA’s Center for Netherlandish Art and the Yale University Art Gallery, Thinking Small: Dutch Art to Scale explores an intriguing selection of objects from the 17th-century Netherlands that were designed to elicit slow, intimate and contemplative engagement on the part of their original audiences. With objects drawn from rich collections across Yale’s campus as well as the CNA, the exhibition compels viewers to reconsider their relationship to the world around them.

Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 2
through July 28, 2025

At their core, creating and looking at works of art are acts of care, from the artist’s labor to the viewer’s contemplation and appreciation. Storage, conservation, and display are also ways of tending to art. This exhibition invites visitors to explore how contemporary artists trace and address concepts of care through their materials, subjects, ideas and processes.

Around 100 works from the MFA’s collection define, depict, and demonstrate many forms of care through five thematic groupings: threads, thresholds, rest, vibrant matter, and adoration. Gisela Charfauros McDaniel’s portrait of her mother, Tiningo’ si Sirena (2021), moves between intimacy and an attentiveness to larger concepts that are meaningful to the artist, like cultural inheritances and ecological interconnectivity. For his Sound Suit (2008), Nick Cave extended the lifespan of discarded objects by transforming them into a surreal, otherworldly costume that asserts the value of Black life. The intensive time and labor that goes into creating textiles and fiber art is evident in examples by Sheila Hicks, Howardena Pindell and Jane Sauer. Through these works and many others visitors can consider how different forms of care may inspire new models for living and feeling—now and in the future.

French Salon Gallery

Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. Memorial Room (Gallery 141A)
Opened August 2022

The newly renovated French Salon provides an opulent setting for nearly 100 highlights from the MFA’s Elizabeth Parke Firestone and Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. Collection of French silver. This “period room” cannot in fact be pinned down to one specific period—an in-depth restoration campaign that began in 2018 yielded a stunning finding that half of the space dates to 18th-century France and the other half to early 20th-century New York. Installed in thematic groupings throughout the room, the silver objects on view include works made for royal, domestic and ecclesiastical purposes—showcasing the craftsmanship of silversmiths who worked in Paris and provincial French cities from the late 16th through the early 19th centuries.

Perhaps even more than other decorative arts objects, silver works carry with them physical evidence of their creation and subsequent lives. The raw material of silver is evident, and the signs of the many hands that processed it still remain: stamped marks tell the story of the artists, the tax collectors who evaluated quality, and the town guild where the pieces were made. In some instances, subsequent owners have engraved their coats of arms, inventory numbers or initials. An in-gallery video explores one incredible object in particular—an exquisite sauceboat by the star Parisian silversmith in mid-18th century, François-Thomas Germain—tracing its fascinating history from the mining of raw material in South America to the creation of the piece in France.

The salon itself, which entered the MFA’s collection nearly 100 years ago, is also presented as a museum object. An in-gallery video traces its evolution from France, to New York, where it was part of a Fifth Avenue mansion owned by businessman William Salomon, to Boston.

With gratitude to Elizabeth Parke Willis-Leatherman for her generous support of the renovation of this gallery. 

Art of the Italian Renaissance Galleries

(Gallery 141, 141B)
Opened August 2022

Two newly renovated, light-filled spaces present a new vision of the MFA’s collection of Italian Renaissance art, bringing together approximately 90 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, furniture and objects made for use in the home, including several recent acquisitions. The first gallery considers a variety of themes through object groupings: the meanings of antiquity for Renaissance artists, viewers and patrons; technical innovations and materials; the role of storytelling and the variety of narrative formats in Renaissance art; and the everyday lives of men and women. The second gallery explores the interweaving of religion and art, presenting works ranging from small-scale devotional paintings to larger-scale works including Rosso Fiorentino’s masterpiece The Dead Christ with Angels (about 1524–27). Together, these spaces convey the complexity, variety, creativity, spirituality, self-definition and curiosity that drove the making and appreciation of works during the Italian Renaissance—a period that continues to inspire and resonate with many today.

The renovation of these galleries is made possible with generous support from Emi M. and William G. Winterer, the Thompson Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor. Additional support from Tamara Petrosian Davis and Charles Howard Davis II.

Intentional Beauty: Jewish Ritual Art from the Collection

Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 231)
Opened December 2023

Bringing together nearly 30 works from the MFA’s collection of Jewish ritual art, or Judaica—most of which are new acquisitions on view for the first time—this gallery explores the splendor of items made for Jewish religious experience, at home and in the synagogue. Treasures of all kinds are on view: metalwork, textiles, paintings, furniture, and works on paper. Created across the centuries, they originate from places as far reaching as Asia, North Africa, Europe, and the United States. Though their meaning and use have always been intrinsically Jewish, their styles and techniques vary greatly, reflecting the artistic language of their surrounding cultures.

With lavish reliefs, engravings, and enamel and niello adornments, a Torah shield by Elimelekh Tzoref of Stanislav (Galicia, modern-day Ukraine) (1781–82) is one of the finest in existence. Its remarkable ornamentation and craftsmanship reflect the importance of the Torah scroll—the handwritten text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible—in Judaism. Constructed to house the scroll at the now-defunct Shaare Zion Synagogue in Chelsea, Massachusetts, a Torah ark by woodcarver Samuel Katz (about 1920) is rooted in local history: it tells a story about immigration to Boston and the many changes and challenges Jews from the area faced in the early 20th century.

Contemporary works from the United States and Israel, such as kiddush cups, candlesticks, and spice boxes used in the observation of Shabbat, offer innovative takes on Judaica for the home. Older items—including a wood and silver Torah case from Baghdad (modern-day Iraq) (1879) and used in Calcutta, India—act as tangible testimonies to their communities’ histories. Taken together, these objects draw connections that offer a deeper understanding of Jewish values, traditions, and identity across time and geography.

"Intentional Beauty: Jewish Ritual Art from the Collection" is sponsored by the David Berg Foundation. Additional support provided by Lorraine Bressler, the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, Inc., Lisbeth Tarlow and Stephen Kay, and The Priebatsch Family Fund, in loving memory of Norman Priebatsch. With special gratitude to Marcia and Louis Kamentsky and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Stories Artists Tell: Art of the Americas, the 20th Century

Art of the Americas Wing, Level 3
Ongoing

A new reinstallation of the third floor of the Art of the Americas Wing presents modern art from North and South America beyond the standard boundaries of geography, time and artistic movements. Stories Artists Tell: Art of the Americas, the 20th Century takes the form of an anthology, with each room offering a short story on a different theme—from the perspectives of Native artists in the Southwest to the vibrant connections between art, design and jazz at midcentury. The works are primarily drawn from the MFA’s collection, with well-known icons appearing alongside new acquisitions and other objects on view for the first time. Stories Artists Tell comprises six galleries that also provide context for a rotating central space, which will feature a series of special exhibitions in the coming years. The first, Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas, brings together work by Black artists in the Americas who turned their gaze to Africa to find grounding, strength and guidance, and gained insight into their identities, aesthetics and artistic practices.

Hank Willis Thomas: Remember Me

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 2
Ongoing

Hank Willis Thomas (born 1976) probes the visual culture of identity, history, social justice and popular media through conceptual art. His multimedia installations invite viewers to consider modes of systemic oppression and explore the depths of collective memory. These two installations, which source imagery from photography and archival materials, reframe historical iconography to resonate with contemporary audiences and propose constructive, collaborative, reparative futures.

Inspired by an antique postcard of a young Black man—possibly a World War I veteran—holding a rifle, Remember Me (2022) memorializes the strength, courage, and forgotten legacies of rural African Americans in the early 20th century. It replicates, as a large illuminated neon sign, the words handwritten on the back of the postcard: “Remember me.” Thomas encountered the source object at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.

“…but by the content of their character” (Test pattern) (2020) also deals with memory, imagery and race. This work is one of several Thomas has made by placing a UV print on retroreflective vinyl, creating rainbow-hued vertical bands reminiscent of a TV test pattern. Viewers must move through space for the reflective photographic image to become visible. In this specific iteration of the series, Thomas spotlights an iconic image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Flash photography further activates the image—inviting visitors to participate in image making.

Where Remember Me memorializes an unidentified figure one would not expect to find in textbooks or in movies, “...but by the content of their character” (Test pattern) features an iconic image of a widely known civil rights activist at a key, defining moment. Both works prompt perspectival shifts, asking audiences to reflect on the process of storytelling and history’s biases in a call to action.

This installation is presented in conjunction with the unveiling of The Embrace, a new memorial in the Boston Common honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s commitment to racial equity. The Embrace was designed by Thomas and the MASS Design Group and commissioned by Embrace Boston, the Boston Foundation and the Collection of the City of Boston.

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