"Landscape, abstracted" Debuts New Works in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art

Teresita Fernández, Jason Middlebrook and Anne Lindberg Included in New Installation of Contemporary Art

BOSTON, MA (July 31, 2014)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), offers a contemporary spin on landscape art with a new installation in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art’s Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria: Landscape, abstracted. Opening August 16, 2014, ten works, including contemporary sculptures, paintings, installation, and video art, build on the MFA’s long tradition of collecting exceptional landscapes—from French Impressionists and Hudson River School artists to Chinese ink paintings and beyond. Landscape, abstracted is an extension of that strong foundation, presenting contemporary art as the latest chapter in the story of landscape art through the ages, as told by the MFA’s encyclopedic collection. Many of the artists featured in the installation find inspiration in the natural world, but eschew representational imagery. Works on view include a number of new acquisitions that have never before been on view, as well as new commissions by Jason Middlebrook (American, born in 1966) and Anne Lindberg (American, born in 1962). Their soaring creations will evoke nature’s sublime potential through color and pattern, using the dramatic architecture of the Linde Family Wing to guide their work. Originally designed by I.M. Pei in 1981, the wing re-opened as the Linde Family Wing in September 2011—celebrating its three-year anniversary with the new installation.

Since its opening three years ago, the Linde Family Wing galleries have been refreshed on an ongoing basis through new installations, including Liliana Porter’s seminal wall painting, Untitled (Shadows) (1969/2011), and the display of many new acquisitions including Martin Puryear’s Confessional (1996-2000) and Anish Kapoor’s Untitled (Shu-red) (2007). A center for contemporary art and culture, the Wing’s varied programs weave together art, performance, film, music and education to present new perspectives and offer a bridge between the work of today and the Museum’s historical collections.

Landscape, abstracted embodies our goal to exhibit ambitious works by the most creative and innovative artists practicing today,” said Edward Saywell, Chair of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art and Arthur K. Solomon Curator of Modern Art. “The installation will showcase the imagination of some brilliant artistic minds. The works will be certain to inspire and be an absolute must-see.”

Jason Middlebrook has been invited to paint the largest wall in the Cohen Galleria, which measures 24 by 80 feet. According to Middlebrook, whose limited edition prints will also be on sale in the MFA Shop, his signature patterning weds the geometry of modern abstraction with the lines of wood grain to create, in his words, “a tension between something organic and something man-made.” Another site-specific work by artist Anne Lindberg will evoke nature by using only colored thread and staples. Suspended from the vaulted ceiling of the Linde Family Wing’s second floor, Lindberg’s work will soar gracefully above visitors. This is the first time Lindberg has created a work installed at this height (16.5 feet), allowing visitors to look up through a field of color. Visitors will be able to watch these projects unfold when both artists begin installing on site in early August.

“‘Landscape’ may sound staid to some, but nature never lost its pull as a rich source for artists. The artists of our time continue to explore this subject, but bring to the table the influence of 20th century abstraction and manage to break new ground in compelling, creative and truly contemporary ways,” said Al Miner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the MFA and organizer of Landscape, abstracted. “This project celebrates their achievement and highlights their ability to push landscapes beyond viewers’ expectations and into abstraction.”

Works from the MFA’s collection that expand the definition of “landscape” beyond the horizon line include chenille beanbag Topia Chairs (2008) by Barbara Gallucci (American, born in 1962), a professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). The newly acquired works invite visitors to interact with their ambiguous form through the Museum’s “Please Be Seated” public seating program. Another take on the theme is seen in the playful video, Eating Landscape (2005), which depicts artist Song Dong (Chinese, born in 1966) building an edible tableau that satirizes traditional Chinese ink landscapes. In his hands, a pile of fish heads and broccoli, not usually associated with scenery, slowly morphs to resemble a mountain scene.

Working in the legacy of Claude Monet, Spencer Finch’s (American, born in 1962) Shield of Achilles (Dawn, Troy, 10/27/02) (2013), recreates the light of dawn. He carefully observes and notates the colors at a precise time and location, but doesn’t paint his impressions—he reproduces them with filtered fluorescent light bulbs. Ghost (Vines) (2013) by Teresita Fernández (American, born in 1968) references nature’s fleeting presence. Layers of precision-cut metal are backed with bright green silkscreen ink that casts a soft green glow around sharp, machined edges—mimicking the pattern of moss. Other works on view in the installation include Two Whites Over Antique Red Over Cadmium Red (2013) by Pat Steir (American, born in 1940), Garrowby Hill (1998) by David Hockney (English, born in 1937), Verity (magenta blue), Repose and Verity (blue green gray) (2011) by Nicole Chesney (American, born in 1971), and Untitled (2003) by Tara Donovan (American, born in 1969)—a large-scale sculpture comprised of thousands of Styrofoam cups.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–4:45 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–9:45 pm Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.