MFA Unveils New Contemporary Art Wing
With the mid-September opening of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Beantown art world just got a whole lot bigger. The new wing spreads out over more than 80,000 square feet, tripling the exhibition space with seven new galleries. The MFA also offers Contemporary Thursdays, weekly evening events like performances, lectures, and films that will supplement the art on display. The permanent galleries feature MFA holdings by renowned contemporary artists like Kara Walker, Mark Bradford, El Anatsui, and Cindy Sherman.
Other changes at the MFA include a redesigned café and wine bar, a renovated bookstore and shop, and new educational and public spaces. The MFA acquired some new works in conjunction with opening the wing, including Christian Marclay’s notable 24-hour video, The Clock, which is a compilation of clips of clocks and watches from film and television (the MFA shares the piece with the National Gallery of Canada). The new galleries will be installed thematically, as opposed to chronologically, or by movement or medium.
“Fundamental to our vision for the new collection galleries is an emphasis on how contemporary art develops new meaning in our current moment and continues to be in dialogue with the art that came before,” Jen Mergel, the Museum’s Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said in a statement. “Introducing the idea that ‘all art has been contemporary,’ we hope to build curiosity, context and exchange about contemporary culture as an unended story in which we all actively participate to shape understanding.”
The first big exhibition to debut in the wing is Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture, on view in the Henry and Lois Foster Gallery. Kelly, who attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, is known for his Color Field abstract paintings. During his career, he also created 30 wood pieces, 19 of which are on display in Wood Sculpture. Kelly produced wooden pieces from 1958 to 1996, using a variety of woods in the freestanding sculptures and wall reliefs. The reliefs are installed close to each other, inviting comparison, while the freestanding works are scattered around the space. The sculptures delve into ideas about perception, space, and line.
The works in Wood Sculpture come to the MFA on loan from Kelly’s own collection, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and from three private collectors. The show is on view through March 4.
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