Opening Soon: Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression and Cézanne: In and Out of Time
BOSTON (September 9, 2020)— The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will reopen on Saturday, September 26, welcoming the community back for one-of-a-kind encounters with works of art. First to reopen will be 31 galleries of the Art of the Americas Wing, featuring the work of North, Central and South American and Caribbean artists, and including some of the MFA’s most beloved objects. Two special exhibitions—Women Take the Floor and the teen-curated Black Histories, Black Futures—will also reopen, offering visitors another chance to experience these cornerstone shows of the MFA’s 150th anniversary year. The Museum will also unveil—in short order—three new and highly anticipated exhibitions that were originally slated to open in the spring: Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation (October 18, 2020–May 16, 2021), Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression (November 15, 2020–February 28, 2021) and Cézanne: In and Out of Time (November 11, 2020–February 28, 2021). Member Appreciation Days will take place September 23-25.
“Museums play a crucial role in providing spaces for reflection, solace and inspiration. We’re grateful to welcome Bostonians back to their MFA and bring a shared experience of art into the lives of many once again. This was—and will continue to be—a challenging time for all of us, but we remain guided by our belief in the power of bringing art and people together,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director.
Hours and Admission
The MFA will reopen at a reduced capacity in the interest of prioritizing the health and safety of visitors and staff. Advance timed-entry tickets will be required for all visitors—members and nonmembers alike—and will be released on a monthly basis (approximately two weeks before the start of each month, following a 24-hour member presale). Tickets will be available for purchase online or by phone only ($25 for nonmembers, free for members and youth 17 and under)—starting September 9 (members) and September 10 (general public). Tickets will not be sold on site.
The MFA will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Additionally, the Museum will offer:
- Modified admission pricing ($5 minimum) during the 3–4 pm entry slot every Wednesday
- Reserved hours for high-risk visitors, during the 10–11 am entry slot every Thursday
- Member Mornings from 10 am–noon the last Sunday of every month
What's on View: Some Highlights
When the Museum reopens, visitors will have the chance to reconnect with hundreds of important works throughout four floors of the Art of the Americas Wing. Spanning 3,000 years, from the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica to the modern art capitals of Mexico City and New York, the objects found in these galleries embody the innate human desire to create meaning and beauty through art and craft—a drive shared by Indigenous peoples, colonial settlers and immigrants, the free and the enslaved, artists trained and those self-taught. A new text panel at the Wing’s entrance—composed by curators during the MFA’s closure—welcomes visitors with a more inclusive vision of the arts of the Americas, a global interpretive approach that questions dominant historical narratives, challenges biases and seeks to highlight previously underrepresented cultures and artists. Later in the fall, two paintings by artist T.C. Cannon (Kiowa/Caddo), on loan from a local collector, will also be installed at the Wing’s entrance.
Over the coming months, new installations and careful reassessments will build upon initiatives launched in late 2019 with the addition of Charles Bird King’s portrait of the Pawnee leader Peskelechaco to the New Nation Gallery, which emphasizes that North America was home to a constellation of powerful Indigenous nations when the United States was founded. Visitors will also find updated labels reflecting fresh perspectives on iconic visitor favorites such as Thomas Sully’s Passage of the Delaware (1819), John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark (1778) and Paul Revere’s Sons of Liberty Bowl (1768); and the installation of an empty frame in the Boston on the Eve of Revolution Gallery, acknowledging those who contributed to this nation’s founding but by virtue of their race, class or preferences were largely left out of the visual record of the time. The Art of the Americas Multilingual Interpretation Initiative begins in September, soon bringing interpretation in Spanish, Chinese and Krèyol (Haitian Creole)—the three languages most commonly spoken in Boston after English—as well as an Algonquian language, into the Wing’s opening gallery.
The MFA’s upcoming fall exhibitions will mark milestone moments for the 150-year-old Museum. The groundbreaking Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation is the first major exhibition to chart Jean-Michel Basquiat’s relationship to early hip-hop culture, uniquely positioning him among his friends and fellow artists of color at the forefront of post-graffiti, a transformative moment in American art. And for the first time in a generation, Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression assembles the Museum’s entire collection of 35 paintings by the beloved Impressionist master—iconic works that capture the beauty and mystery of the world around us. A concurrent exhibition, Cézanne: In and Out of Time, places the paintings of Paul Cézanne in conversation with those of his contemporaries, highlighting what made his art so distinctive when it was new—and why it continues to fascinate today. Due to limited capacities, Writing the Future and Monet and Boston will each require separate, timed-entry exhibition tickets ($30 for nonmembers, free for members and youth) that include general admission. Wall texts and labels for the two exhibitions will be freely accessible via a new mobile app, and additional content—including videos and curated Spotify playlists—can be found on mfa.org.
Murals for the Movement
During the MFA’s reopening weekend, visitors will be greeted by a new installation on the Huntington Avenue Lawn—No Weapon Formed Against Thee Shall Prosper (2020), the inaugural mural in Street Theory Gallery’s new public art initiative (Murals for the Movement), which debuted at Ideal Glass Studios in New York City this summer. The collaborative piece by artists Cey Adams, Sophia Dawson and Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez is dedicated to victims of police brutality and mass incarceration and features portraits of George Floyd and his mother, Larcenia Floyd, Martin Luther King Jr. and a protestor. The MFA’s presentation will debut two new panels with further contributions by the Museum’s artists-in-residence Rob “Problak” Gibbs and Rob Stull.
Health and Safety
The MFA’s new safety measures and protocols were developed with the recommendations of the City of Boston, the State of Massachusetts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization and the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum has implemented the following policies and procedures for visitors, who are encouraged to plan in advance for their visit:
- Advance timed-entry tickets will be required for all visitors—members and nonmembers alike.
- All visitors above the age of two must wear masks inside as well as outside on the Museum’s grounds.
- Upon arrival, visitors will be expected to complete a health check survey for all members of a party and provide contact information (at least one set per party) for contact tracing purposes.
- Visible markers and signage will indicate suggested one-way traffic throughout the building, to assist visitors in navigating galleries, stairwells, elevators and other public spaces at a safe distance from others.
- An intensified cleaning and disinfecting schedule has been implemented and enhanced HVAC filtration installed throughout the building. Additional hand-sanitizer stations have been placed at entrances and other convenient locations.
UNIQLO USA has generously donated masks to MFA staff to assist with the Museum’s reopening and support safety measures. More information and answers to frequently asked questions about the MFA’s new safety measures and protocols can be found at mfa.org/visit.
While on-site dining locations—including the Garden Cafeteria, New American Café, Taste and 465—will remain temporarily closed, food trucks will be parked on the Museum’s campus (at two locations, on Forsyth Way and Museum Road) through a partnership with the City of Boston. The MFA Signature Shop, located by the Huntington Avenue Entrance, will open beginning September 23 (with reduced capacity), while the Main Bookstore & Shop and Gund Gallery Exhibition Shop will remain closed until further notice. Coat checks will also remain closed, and visitors are advised to leave bags and valuables at home.
Up-to-date floor plans and the on-view status of specific artworks will be available at mfa.org. Additional galleries will be reopened in phases, as spaces are reconfigured and one-way traffic routes through the Museum are devised to enable adequate social distancing and the safest possible use by visitors and staff. Until further notice, galleries that will remain temporarily closed include the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Art of Europe, Art of Asia, Art of Africa, Musical Instruments, Jewelry, Photography, and Prints and Drawings. Galleries dedicated to Egyptian, Greek and Roman art will remain also closed as a major renovation project continues in the George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World.
Reopening Exhibition Schedule
Opening September 26:
Women Take the Floor
On view through May 3, 2021
Level 3, Art of the Americas Wing
Marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020, this reinstallation—or “takeover”—of the entire third floor of the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing highlights approximately 200 works made by women artists over the last century. The exhibition challenges the dominant history of 20th-century art by highlighting the overlooked and underrepresented work and stories of women artists, while advocating for diversity, inclusion and gender equity. Drawn primarily from the MFA’s collection, objects in Women Take the Floor are organized into seven thematic galleries and includes paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, jewelry, textiles, ceramics and furniture.
Sponsored by Bank of America. Generously supported by the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. Additional support from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund, and the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund.
Black Histories, Black Futures
On view through June 20, 2021
Carol Vance Wall Rotunda, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center, Lower Hemicycle
Curated by young scholars as part of the MFA’s recently launched partnership with local youth-empowerment organizations, this exhibition features 20th-century paintings and works on paper by artists of color and is a centerpiece of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration. In the summer of 2019, six fellows from Becoming a Man (BAM), The BASE, and the Bloomberg Arts Internship Boston program managed by EdVestors participated in a series of workshops designed to build curatorial skills such as close looking, research methods, label writing and gallery installation. The teen curators were mentored by Layla Bermeo, the MFA’s Kristin and Roger Servison Associate Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas, and supported by peers from the MFA's Teen Arts Council (TAC), who contributed to the exhibition's interpretation and programming. The culminating project features approximately 50 works, organized into four thematic sections that explore and celebrate Black histories, experiences and self-representations. Black Histories, Black Futures features well-known artists including Archibald Motley, Norman Lewis, James Van Der Zee and Dawoud Bey, in addition to highlighting painters with connections to Boston, such as Loïs Mailou Jones and Allan Rohan Crite. It also brings fresh attention to rarely shown works by artists such as Eldzier Cortor, Maria Auxiliadora de Silva and Richard Yarde.
Supported by Robert and Pamela Adams, Robert Ellis Alan, and the Terrell Family Foundation.
Opening October 18:
Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation
October 18, 2020–May 16, 2021 / Member Preview: October 14–17
Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation brings together more than 120 works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and 11 of his peers—A-One, ERO, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Keith Haring, Kool Koor, LA2, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Rammellzee and Toxic—all artists whose techniques share a conceptual approach rooted in early hip-hop practices. Their subversive abstractions generated a new style all their own, giving rise to the insurgent “post-graffiti” movement in American art and catalyzing the rise of hip-hop and street art as globally dominant phenomena. Writing the Future illuminates this unprecedented fusion of creative energies and its defiance of longstanding class and racial divisions in 1980s New York City as these artists demanded—and commanded—the attention not only of the art establishment, but of the world at large.
Sponsored by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by the Robert and Jane Burke Fund for Exhibitions, the Darwin Cordoba Fund, the Amy and Jonathan Poorvu Fund for the Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Sculpture, and the Museum Council Special Exhibition Fund.
Opening November 11:
Cézanne: In and Out of Time
November 11, 2020–February 28, 2021
Lorna and Robert Rosenberg Gallery
The landscapes of Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) seem impossible to enter, his still lifes tilt at dizzying angles, and the sitters in his portraits withhold attention. Though he was a peer of the Impressionists, sometimes participating in their exhibitions and working alongside them, Cézanne’s vision and art depart from theirs in ways both subtle and startling. Cézanne: In and Out of Time looks at this trailblazing artist and considers what sets him apart, placing 12 of his paintings—including six private loans on view at the MFA for the first time—in conversation with works by Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and other contemporaries.
Opening November 15:
Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression
November 15, 2020–February 28, 2021 / Member Preview: November 11–14
Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art (multiple galleries)
Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression was organized to mark the occasion of the MFA’s 150th anniversary in 2020, as a birthday gift from the Museum to the City of Boston. For the first time in a generation, the MFA brings together all 35 of its paintings by Claude Monet (1840–1926), inviting visitors to immerse themselves in his work, from the serenity of the artist’s garden at Giverny to the majesty of the Rouen Cathedral. The exhibition also draws from the Museum’s broader global collection to bring Monet’s early works into conversation with exemplars he admired—from Japanese woodblock prints to earlier European paintings—enabling a fuller understanding and appreciation of the art and artists that inspired him.
Sponsored by Bank of America and UNIQLO USA. Additional support from an Anonymous Donor in memory of Bob Henderson, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Tribute Fund and Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Cordover Exhibition Fund, the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund, and an Anonymous Funder. Media partner is WCVB Channel 5.