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.
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).
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.
Visitor info: mfa.org/visit.