Advance Exhibition Schedule

Upcoming Exhibitions and Galleries

Title Dates
Something Old, Something New: Wedding Fashions and Traditions May 27–October 1, 2023
Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances July 1, 2023–February 18, 2024
Tiny Treasures: The Magic of Miniatures July 1, 2023–February 18, 2024
Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection July 22, 2023–July 28, 2025
The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani August 20, 2023–June 23, 2024
Strong Women in Renaissance Italy September 9, 2023–January 7, 2024
Toshiko Takaezu: Reshaping Abstraction September 30, 2023–September 29, 2024
Fashioned by Sargent October 8, 2023–January 15, 2024

Current Exhibitions

Title Dates
Who Holds Up the Sky? through July 3, 2023
Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina through July 9, 2023
The Banner Project: Diedrick Brackens through June 19, 2023
Jess T. Dugan: Coupled through June 19, 2023
Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence through July 16, 2023
Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas through July 30, 2023
E. Jane Drenched in Light through September 24, 2023
Painted Tintypes: Photography for the People through October 15, 2023
The Provincetown Printmakers through October 15, 2023
Community Arts Initiative: From Farm to Craft Table through October 22, 2023
Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Art Rocks through November 27, 2023
Michaelina Wautier and the Five Senses: Innovation in 17th-Century Flemish Painting Opened November 2022
French Salon Gallery Opened August 2022
Art of the Italian Renaissance Galleries Opened August 2022
Stories Artists Tell: Art of the Americas, the 20th Century Ongoing
Hank Willis Thomas: Remember Me Ongoing
Otherworldly Realms of Wu Junyong Ongoing

Please contact Public Relations to verify titles and dates before publication:

Upcoming Exhibitions and New Galleries

Something Old, Something New: Wedding Fashions and Traditions

Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery (Gallery LG26)
May 27–October 1, 2023

From white silk dresses to diamond rings and wreaths of orange blossoms, some wedding traditions have endured over hundreds of years and countless shifts in culture, style and social norms. Equal parts celebration and interrogation, the exhibition explores the origins of wedding customs and looks at how they’ve evolved—and stayed the same—from the 19th century to today. Thematic groupings present more than 20 objects from the MFA’s fashion collection—including bridal dresses, shoes, jewelry, undergarments and hair accessories—while a wall of nearly 20 photographs shows brides and grooms throughout the decades, from formal portraits taken by Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Edward Weston to candid snapshots by unidentified photographers. Exhibition highlights include contemporary dresses designed by Arnold Scaasi—who iconized Barbra Streisand, designed for first lady Barbara Bush, and draped Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Rivers, and Barbara Walters—as well as by Quincy native Priscilla Comins Kidder, the owner of the legendary Priscilla of Boston bridal boutique who dressed Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids and Presidents Johnson’s and Nixon’s daughters for their weddings. These and other exquisite objects, from a gold wedding band made in the 18th century by Paul Revere to a turquoise-and-pearl brooch designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria’s bridesmaids on the occasion of their 1840 wedding, reveal the exciting changes and lasting trends surrounding marriage ceremonies in America.

The Media Partner for “Something Old, Something New: Wedding Fashions and Traditions” is Boston Weddings. 

Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances

Henry and Lois Foster Gallery (Gallery 158)
July 1, 2023–February 18, 2024

Matthew Wong achieved resounding critical acclaim during his short career, which spanned just six years, between 2013, when he began painting and drawing in earnest, and his death in 2019. In that time, he became known for vibrant landscape paintings in a wide range of styles and mediums, including oil, ink, watercolor and gouache. Wong spent most of his life between Canada and Hong Kong; in their universality, his landscapes reflect this transnationality.

Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances is the first museum retrospective and first U.S. museum exhibition devoted to the self-taught artist. Featuring approximately 40 paintings, it offers the first formal account of how Wong adeptly synthesized many inspirations—from the Fauvists to 17th-century Qing period ink painters to contemporaries he admired—to create a visual language uniquely his own.

“Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances” is supported by the Henry and Lois Foster Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions, the Robert and Jane Burke Fund for Exhibitions, the Diane Krane Family and Jonathan and Gina Krane Family Fund, and the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund. 

    Tiny Treasures: The Magic of Miniatures

    Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery (Gallery 155)
    July 1, 2023–February 18, 2024

    Simply defined, a miniature is an object smaller than its parent object—compare a chair made for a doll’s house at two inches tall with a normal-sized one. The unexpected scale of miniatures, especially in relation to humans as viewers, can be instantly unsettling and uncanny. But miniatures are full of charm and humor, and they carry meaning all the more profound for being distilled into a smaller form.

    Featuring works in a surprising array of media—paintings, drawings, ceramics, precious metals and gems and more—from the 7th century B.C.E. all the way to the present day, this exhibition explores miniaturization in art and how artists and artisans play with our perception of scale. The more than 100 objects on view span a range of sizes, from just a few centimeters to over two feet, and include amulets from ancient Egypt, sculpted ivory and wood netsuke from Edo Japan and jewelry depicting miniaturized everyday items.

    Through a selection of objects that’s as expansive as it is eclectic, visitors can see miniatures, which are by nature overlooked, as masterpieces in their own right. They provide as much stimulation as grander works, and their intricate details, requiring an incredible amount of skill to execute, often make them more demanding to create than their larger counterparts. With everything from diminutive decor to mini woven baskets—and even a pint-sized painting by Picasso—Tiny Treasures shows miniatures to be far more compelling than their size would suggest.

    Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection

    Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 2
    July 22, 2023–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.

    The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani

    Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria (Gallery 265)
    August 20, 2023–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.

    Strong Women in Renaissance Italy

    Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)
    September 9, 2023–January 7, 2024

    This exhibition examines the lives of women in Renaissance Italy and provides new perspectives on their creativity, power and agency. It brings together approximately 100 works of art from the MFA’s collection—sculpture, paintings, ceramics, textiles, illustrated books and prints—along with key loans from the British Library, the Dayton Art Institute, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum, the Boston Athenaeum and a private collection. These objects, dating from the 14th through the early 17th centuries, encompass both the sacred and the secular. They tell stories about female presence and power that once went unheard, and include works made by women, for women, commissioned or collected by women, and representing women. Some were made by well-known artists like Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana, others by women whose names remain unknown. Representations of women in historical, religious and mythological contexts include images of the biblical heroine Judith, the saint Mary Magdalene and the sorceress Medea. Grouped in thematic sections, the objects on view illuminate various facets of Renaissance women’s lives, from the domestic and civic spheres to religious experience and devotional practice.

    “Strong Women in Renaissance Italy” is generously supported by Tamara Petrosian Davis and Charles Howard Davis II. Additional support from Dr. Susanna I. Lee, the Cordover Exhibition Fund, the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund, and The Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions. Media Sponsor is Boston Magazine. 

    Toshiko Takaezu: Reshaping Abstraction

    Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries
    September 30, 2023–September 29, 2024

    Born in Hawaii to parents of Okinawan ancestry, 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 she called her “living environments.” 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, additional displays on the third floor of the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing and in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art juxtapose Takaezu with two of her friends: the ceramic artist Leza McVey and 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. It is organized in partnership with the Noguchi Museum and the Toshiko Takaezu Foundation.

    “Toshiko Takaezu” is 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.  

    Fashioned by Sargent

    Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (LG31)
    October 8, 2023–January 15, 2024

    In portraits by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), sitters assume elegant stances, the fabric of their dress richly depicted in broad, sensuous strokes of paint. Sargent brought his subjects to life, but he did much more than simply record what appeared before him. He often chose what his sitters wore and, even if they arrived in his studio dressed in the latest fashions, he frequently simplified and altered the details. Exploiting dress was an integral part of his artistry.

    Organized with Tate Britain, Fashioned by Sargent explores the artist’s complex relationship with his often-affluent clients and their clothes. The exhibition reveals Sargent’s power over his sitters’ images by considering the liberties he took with sartorial choices to express distinctive personalities, social positions, professions, gender identities and nationalities. Alongside about 50 paintings by Sargent, over a dozen period garments and accessories shed new light on the relationship between fashion and this beloved artist’s creative practice.

    In addition to style icons like Madame X, Lady Agnew and Dr. Pozzi at Home, the exhibition brings together several paintings with the garments worn by the sitters, among them Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth with her beetle-wing encrusted costume, and Mrs. Charles Inches (Louise Pomeroy) with her red velvet evening gown. Visitors are invited to step into the making of a Sargent portrait and consider ideas of curating—and controlling—one’s image.

    “Fashioned by Sargent” is sponsored by Bank of America. Generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional support from the Barbara M. Eagle Exhibition Fund, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Fund for Exhibitions, and the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund. “Fashioned by Sargent” is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Tate Britain, London, England.

    Current Exhibitions

    Who Holds Up the Sky?

    Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center (130.10)
    through July 3, 2023

    Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, attacks have continued endlessly in different regions of the country, and ordinary citizens have been forced to pick up arms and fight back. Organized in partnership with The Wartime Art Archive at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) NGO in Kyiv, this exhibition presents the work of artists who have been documenting the war—providing testimony of Russia’s crimes and a glimpse into many Ukrainian citizens’ lives.

    Reportage photographs from Vadym Belikov capture Russian missile launches targeting Kharkiv, one of Ukraine’s largest cities. War correspondent Efrem Lukatsky films missiles striking fields where farmers still reap their grain harvests, awaited by trading partners around the world. Yana Kononova documents destruction in the northern region of Kyiv in her series of abstract X-Scapes, and Kostiantyn Polishchuk’s The Night Watch portrays his fellow soldiers on the front lines of the Ukrainian defense. Inga Levi’s graphic series Double exposure juxtaposes news from the warfront with sketches of civilians’ everyday routines. 

    The exhibition also highlights Behind Blue Eyes, a project started by Dima Zubkov and Artem Skorohodko, volunteers who distribute food and supplies to residents in liberated Ukrainian villages. The pair provided disposable cameras to children and teens in Lukashivka, in the Chernihiv region, asking them to document their lives for a week. Paired with interviews about the children’s dreams and hopes for the future, the resulting images—of family and friends, bombed houses, flowers still blooming amid destruction, and selfies on tanks—capture the many facets of their complex reality. The title of the project, taken from a Limp Bizkit cover of a song by The Who, refers to hiding internal negative emotions, worries, and rage under a completely normal appearance and condition; the color blue signifies the sky.

    Together, all of these works create a collective portrait of the wartime experience—paying tribute to those who, in the curators’ words, are “holding up the sky over Ukraine.”

    Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

    Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184)
    March 26-July 9, 2023

    Focusing on the work of Black potters in the 19th-century American South, this landmark exhibition presents nearly 60 ceramic objects from Old Edgefield District, South Carolina, a center of stoneware production in the decades before the Civil War, together with contemporary responses. 

    Hear Me Now tells a story about art and enslavement—and about the joy, struggle, creative ambition, and lived experience of African Americans in the decades before the Civil War. The exhibition features many objects never before seen outside of the South, bringing together monumental storage jars by the enslaved and literate potter and poet Dave or David Drake (about 1800–about 1870) with rare examples of the region’s utilitarian wares and enigmatic face vessels by unrecorded makers. 

    It also links past to present, in part by including the work of leading contemporary Black artists who have responded to or whose practice resonates with the Edgefield story. Established figures like Theaster Gates and Simone Leigh, as well as younger, emerging artists like Adebunmi Gbadebo, Woody De Othello and Robert Pruitt have contributed to the show.  Working primarily in clay, these artists respond to the legacy of the Edgefield potters and consider the resonance of this history for audiences today.

    Focusing on enslaved artists and the American South, Hear Me Now shines a light on an untold chapter in American art, and on one of the most brutal periods in American history. Co-organized with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication and informed by new scientific research. The show will additionally travel to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.  

    “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Edgefield, South Carolina” is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, The Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions, the Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Exhibition Fund, the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, and an anonymous funder.

    The Banner Project: Diedrick Brackens

    Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria (Gallery 265)
    through June 19, 2023

    Through dreamlike woven tapestries, Texas-born artist Diedrick Brackens (born 1989) explores African American and queer identity, his own life, and broader American history. He usually begins his colorful textiles by hand-dyeing cotton, a material that is cheap and ubiquitous, but for his Banner Project Brackens chose a different process. Working with Designtex on a commercial loom, Brackens foregrounds the fraught connections between hand and machine labor in the U.S.—specifically the cotton industry’s brutal reliance on enslaved people (including Brackens’ own forebears), who were forced to pick cotton by hand and enjoyed no profit when it was sent to the mills.

    The tapestry depicts catfish swimming in water among reeds, watched closely by a solitary figure. Catfish, which thrive in muddy riverbeds in the American South, are often derided as common. But Brackens sees them as a symbol of his geographic and cultural roots, and throughout his work he frames them as worthy of consideration “in the way that the tapestries of the Middle Ages exalted unicorns, lions, dragons and stags.”

    Brackens’ banner responds to a tapestry in the MFA’s collection by John Henry Dearle (1860–1932), an artist who also looked back to the medieval period. As mechanization and factory production became more prevalent at the turn of the 20th century, Dearle and his peers from the British Arts and Crafts movement reacted to the perceived decline of art, craft and even life itself by promoting the dignity of labor done by hand.

    Commissioned for this exhibition, Brackens’ banner asks visitors to consider the extensive textile history in New England, where mills proliferated, often built on violent labor conditions for those who picked and processed their raw materials. But the motif of the catfish refuses any singular reading, offering the artist a way to reflect on “sustenance, my ancestors, and myself; it functions as a spirit linking the living and dead.”

    Supported by the Trust Family Contemporary Exhibition Fund. With gratitude to Designtex.

    Jess T. Dugan: Coupled

    Frances Vrachos Gallery / Mary Stamas Gallery (Gallery 148)
    through June 19, 2023

    Jess T. Dugan (born 1968) is a queer, nonbinary artist who explores issues of identity, attraction, representation and community in their work. This exhibition highlights 10 works from their Coupled series—recently donated by Dugan to the MFA—which the artist made in Boston between 2006 and 2008, following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2004. Dugan created these striking portraits of LGBTQ couples with a large-format 20x24 Polaroid camera at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where they were an undergraduate student. Shot against a deep red background with strong studio lighting, these works depict friends, acquaintances, lovers and family members, including Dugan’s mother and her wife. The couples share the shallow space and gesture or touch each other in emotionally subtle ways—drawing our attention both to their loving relationships and to each proud individual.

    Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence

    Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)
    through July 23, 2023

    Thanks to the popularity of the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers and Lego sets to anime and emoji—Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has become one of the most famous and influential artists in the world. This major exhibition takes a new approach to the work of the versatile master, pairing more than 100 of his woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books from the MFA’s renowned collection with more than 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers. These unique juxtapositions demonstrate Hokusai’s impact through the centuries and around the globe—seen in works by, among others, his daughter Katsushika Ōi, his contemporaries Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, the 19th-century French Japonistes, and modern and contemporary artists including Loïs Mailou Jones, John Cederquist and Yoshitomo Nara.

    “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence” is sponsored by UNIQLO USA. Generously supported by the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates. Additional support from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund, the Museum Council Artist in Residency Program Fund, the Dr. Terry Satsuki Milhaupt Fund for Japanese Textiles, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund, and the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund.

    E. Jane: Drenched in Light

    Lizbeth and George Krupp Gallery (Gallery 264)
    through September 24, 2023

    Beyoncé. Bessie Smith. Viola Davis. Diahann Carroll. These are just a few of the icons who inform the vision of E. Jane, an artist exploring the labor and inner lives of Black women and the future of Blackness and queerness. For this exhibition, their first solo museum show, Jane presents recent works that consider the figure of the Black diva in culture past and present.

    “The Black diva, like all divas, is a powerful woman in her knowledge, success, and drive,” Jane observes. Claiming the agency historically denied to Black women’s lives, the diva must also contend with constant media surveillance: a friction Jane has foregrounded in installations, videos, performances, sculptures, and sound. Building on this body of work, Drenched in Light invites visitors to experience the complexities of divadom by bringing together Jane’s video essay LetMEbeaWomanTM.mp4 (2020) with imagery from an intimate new zine and their Vinyl Studies series (2022), which borrows from the self-stylings of Black women musicians found on album art. Retrieving references from the long history of Black divas, and specifically channeling themes found in Zora Neale Hurston’s 1924 short story “Drenched in Light,” Jane offers an archive of the diva as a political gesture, for, as the artist reminds us, “Keeping the past is a way to ensure the future.”

    Supported by the Museum Council Artist in Residency Program Fund.

    Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas

    Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries (Gallery 332)
    through July 30, 2023

    Africa is at once a point of origin and the source of multiple associations—real and imagined—for many Black artists working in the Americas. In the 20th century, some artists self-consciously responded to writer and philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke’s call to engage with “those ancestral arts,” while others had been practicing African artistic traditions passed down through generations. Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas traces narratives of Blackness across the Atlantic world by bringing together work by artists who absorbed and reinterpreted African artistic practices, sacred customs and cultural expressions. The exhibition features works from the MFA’s collection by Loïs Mailou Jones, James Richmond Barthé, Wifredo Lam, Kofi Bailey and Allan Rohan Crite in addition to loans by New England-based artists Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Ifé Franklin, Bryan Mcfarlane, Karen Hampton and Stephen Hamilton.

    Painted Tintypes: Photography for the People

    Herb Ritts Gallery (Gallery 169)
    through October 15, 2023

    Tintypes—or ferrotypes—were first introduced in the U.S. in the 1850s. Made by printing photographic images onto sheets of thin metal, they were inexpensive to produce, offering an affordable alternative to painted portraits. Often they were hand-painted by women using oils, watercolors and dry pigments. Each one was unique —a product of the makers exploring their creative potential. Most of the tintypes were housed in decorative frames, some of which are remarkably inventive in their own right. By 1860 tintypes proliferated through all levels of society, becoming an important form of remembrance of sons fighting in the Civil War and families moving westward.

    Painted Tintypes: Photography for the People explores the rich tradition of this quintessentially American art form, paying tribute to the photographers, sitters, painters and frame makers who made this early form of photography so popular. The exhibition features approximately 40 hand-painted tintypes on loan from several private collections, complemented by a pair of examples from the MFA’s collection.

    Tintypes had a unique way of bringing people together—captivating the imaginations and those from diverse socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. While most of these works are unsigned and the identities of many sitters are unrecorded, they nevertheless provide an important visual record of 19th-century American history and the strivings of everyday people to represent themselves at their very best.

    Supported by the Benjamin A. Trustman and Julia M. Trustman Fund.

    The Provincetown Printmakers

    Clementine Brown Gallery (Gallery 170)
    through October 15, 2023

    On the northern tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long been regarded as a refuge for artists and a vibrant hub of experimentation and innovation. In 1916, Boston Globe critic A. J. Philpott described the small fishing village as “the biggest art colony in the world… one of Nature’s laboratories in which creative minds and artistic souls can work.” Among those creative minds and artistic souls, a group of artists, many of whom were women, achieved national prominence for their experimental color woodblock prints—the so-called Provincetown Print. Today, many of the printmakers remain underrecognized despite their contributions to the history of printmaking and modern art in America.

    Drawing from the collection of the late Leslie and Johanna Garfield, this exhibition focuses on the work of six artists: Ada Gilmore Chaffee, Maud Hunt Squire, Ethel Mars, Mildred McMillen, Juliette Nichols and B. J. O. Nordfeldt—the first pioneering group that came together in Provincetown to practice color woodblock printing. Generous in spirit, they trained other artists and shared their innovations, helping turn Provincetown into a renowned center for printmaking. The nearly 50 inventive prints on view build on the traditions of Japanese woodcuts and European modernism, using bold colors and dramatic lines to illustrate coastal houses, fishers at work and other scenes of daily life on the Cape. A salon-style wall featuring work by students and successors to the original nucleus of printmakers, including the key figure Blanche Lazzell, reveals the persistent creative energy that continues to make Provincetown an artistic destination.

    Of the 13 artists featured, all but two are women. Visitors can explore the leading role women played in the creative explosion that occurred in Provincetown in the first half of the 20th century and the catalyzing vital force of a such a tight-knit artistic community.

    Supported by the Susan G. Kohn and Harry Kohn, Jr. Fund for Contemporary Prints. 

    Community Arts Initiative: From Farm to Craft Table

    Edward H. Linde Gallery (Gallery 168)
    through October 22, 2023

    For From Farm to Craft Table, mixed-media artist Alexandra Adamo and children from twelve Boston-area community organizations learned about the wonders of wool. Starting their journey at Waltham Fields Community Farm, they built relationships with wool-bearing animals right outside the city. This gave them an appreciation for the sheep wool they used as they worked together to create a community “garden” of felt tendrils and roots, abstract vessels, a paint patchwork quilt, and needle felt sculptures.

    These individual components come together in this exhibition to form a vast landscape of blended green wools, dangling root systems, and blossoming seeds—each element representing a child and their hopes for how they’d like to grow in the community they’ve developed. We all experienced a lack of grounding and togetherness during the COVID-19 pandemic, but through this therapeutic collaboration, Adamo and the young artists regained their footing by laying down seeds and roots.

    From Farm to Craft Table marks the 18th year of the Community Arts Initiative, through which the MFA partners with community organizations to introduce young people ages 6 to 12 to the Museum’s collection and the art-making process. For this exhibition, through the Community Arts Initiative, the Museum is proud to partner with Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Condon Boys & Girls Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Jordan Boys & Girls Club, Sociedad Latina, United South End Settlements, Vine Street Community Center, West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton, and Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury.

    Supported by the Linde Family Foundation.  

    Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Art Rocks

    Asian Paintings Gallery (Gallery 178)
    through November 27, 2023

    In China, rocks in their natural form are objects of great aesthetic appreciation. As far back as 1,000 years ago, serious art collectors and critics acquired and competed for rocks with the same passion they afforded great works of painting and calligraphy. Rather than celebrating superficial beauty, collectors exalted imperfection for its expressive possibilities and sought rocks that were not symmetrical or smooth or pretty. They used terms like strange, weird and awkward as complimentary descriptions of the rocks they most preferred. The humble rock became, like an abstract sculpture, a medium to explore forms and textures, and to express one’s inner being. In the minds of serious connoisseurs, rocks, as microcosms of mountains—or even the entire universe—were meditations on life itself.

    In 2018 and 2019, Wan-go H. C. Weng (1918–2020) made the largest gift of Chinese paintings and calligraphy to the MFA in the institution’s history, comprising more than 230 objects acquired and passed down through six generations of his family. Rocks were integral to the Weng family’s art collection, as subjects of paintings and as art objects themselves. This exhibition features more than 25 works from the gift that explore how rock aesthetics have permeated architecture, landscape design and painting styles in China for a millennium. Visitors can envision themselves in paintings of gardens where colossal rocks loom over a scholar’s studio, or scenes of fantastical caves where artists gaze in awe at mysterious rock formations. And rocks of all kind—large and small, weird and imperfect—are on view throughout the gallery, welcoming viewers to ponder, explore or, like the ancient poets, venerate.

    This is the third in a series of three exhibitions celebrating the landmark donation made by Wan-go H. C. Weng, a longtime supporter of the MFA who, until he passed away in 2020 at the age of 102, devoted his life to the preservation, study, and promotion of China’s cultural heritage.

    Generously supported by the Tan Family Education Foundation.

    Michaelina Wautier and the Five Senses: Innovation in 17th-Century Flemish Painting

    William A. Coolidge Gallery (The Center for Netherlandish Art’s Gallery for Innovative Scholarship, Gallery 243A)
    Opened November 2022

    Centered around her rare series The Five Senses (1650), this is the first exhibition in the Americas dedicated to the art of Michaelina Wautier (1614–1689), a painter from Brussels all but forgotten until the recent rediscovery of her work. The set of five pictures was virtually unknown until it was acquired by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and lent to the MFA in 2020. Here, it is joined by Wautier’s remarkable Self-Portrait (1645), on loan from a private collection and on public view in the U.S. for the first time.

    Wautier’s technique, process and training are mysterious. Few records about her life exist, due in part to her gender. This exhibition, organized by the MFA’s Center for Netherlandish Art in collaboration with a professor and six doctoral students from Brown University, presents new scholarship about the artist and her unusual career as a female painter working in mid-17th-century Brussels. The Five Senses and Self-Portrait, all of which have only been attributed to Wautier in recent years, are among fewer than 40 known works by the artist. Wautier focuses on boys—a different model in each painting—performing everyday activities in her detailed portrayals of Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Accompanying prints by her predecessors and contemporaries, including Cornelis Cort (1533–1578) and Johannes Gillisz. van Vliet (about 1610–about 1640), demonstrate Wautier’s originality, showcasing how she defied a convention at the time of depicting the senses as experienced by idealized women. In her Self-Portrait, Wautier presents herself both in a formal aristocratic setting and as a professional artist, facing an easel and holding painting tools. Together, these extraordinary pictures are exemplary of Wautier’s unique style and brushwork. The exhibition also features a print after a now lost portrait by Wautier from the MFA's collection that has never been on view.

    The exhibition is accompanied by the first volume of the digital publication series CNA Studies, edited by Professor Jeffrey Muller and with essays by the six organizing students: Yannick Etoundi, Sophie Higgerson, Emily Hirsch, Regina Noto, Mohadeseh Salari Sardari and Dandan Xu.

    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.

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

    Art of the Americas Wing, Level 3

    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

    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.

    Otherworldly Realms of Wu Junyong

    Gallery next to MFA Signature Shop (Gallery 183)

    In Otherworldly Realms of Wu Junyong, heroes face off in mighty clashes with their enemies; charming animals growl at one another, vying for superiority; and monks retreat into murky caves, searching for inner peace. Artist Wu Junyong (born 1978) brings these scenes to life in joyous mixed-media works on paper, where, beneath playful imagery and riotous color, dark truths hide and serenity awaits in secluded haunts.

    Wu grew up in a family of artisans who created sculptures and murals for local temples in their southern Chinese village. Immersed in China’s folklore throughout his childhood, he became fascinated with European painting and the heroes of ancient Greek mythology after arriving in art school. His work reflects all these influences, seamlessly blending diverse historical traditions with his contemporary experience to express human emotions, conflicts and aspirations that transcend time and borders.

    Generously supported by Bonnie Huang. Additional support from Eva Hu, the Joel Alvord and Lisa Schmid Alvord Fund, the Diane Krane Family and Jonathan and Gina Krane Family Fund, and the Dr. Robert A. and Dr. Veronica Petersen Fund for Exhibitions.

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