Museum of Fine Arts Developments | Fenway

whighlander

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Time to restart the discussion of the MFA as the "Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art" is shaping up in the renovated I.M. Pei westWing and is soon to open

I ws at the MFA on Satiurday and while trying to reach the Courtyard Cafe got a small peak at a lot of last minute finishing construction (e.g. drywall, paint)

from the MFA website:

http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/linde-family-wing-contemporary-art


"Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, located in the MFA’s dramatic I.M. Pei-designed building. To mark the opening, the Museum will host a 24-hour celebration—beginning with a ticketed party on September 17 and culminating in an open house on September 18 with free admission, performances, and activities for all.

The transformed wing features seven galleries introducing innovative approaches to contemporary art within the context of the Museum’s collections, offering new perspectives and encouraging connections between art of the past and present."
 

datadyne007

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I'm so freaking excited for this. I can't even tell you how many suggestions i've dropped in their box with nothing but "A real contemporary wing" written on them over the past several years. The little room of contemporary art they used to have was absolutely pathetic for such a world-class museum. I'm delighted to see the Pei wing get the use that it deserves. I received the e-mail inviting me to the ticketed 24-hour gala a few weeks ago. I'm still contemplating on whether I'll go.

Finally, the MFA is getting serious about contemporary art. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the directors (during the Members opening of the Foster wing) and she told me that the person who is organizing the contemporary wing is none other than Helen Molesworth of the ICA.
 

whighlander

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Danta -- I'm generally not much of a fan of most so-called "Contemporary Art" -- still as the MFA now says proudly -- in its Press Release: " “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,” said Jen Mergel, the Museum’s Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “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 galleries will become a resource for audiences to revisit again and again to engage with an art experience that is truly ‘con tempos,’ with the times.”

I'm hopefull that with the MFA's amazing collection of "Previously Contemporary Art" -- that some of the new stuff can be put in the context of its ancestors, etc. -- much as the Chinese Ink exhibit did using the Chinese Masterpieces as inspirations to the contemporary artists

For example I like to see a commision of:
a silver or other metal work using the Revere Bowl and Copley Pix of Revere as an inspiration
a glass or LED piece using the Tiffany and LaFarge Stained Glass as an inspiration
a stone work based on an Egyptian, Greek, Asian stone figure or object

etc., etc., etc...


"
 

Tombstoner

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The Chinese Ink exhibit was an amazing manifestation of this credo. I must have visited it 10 times. I hope they do more like that (i.e., loan ancient pieces to modern artists and let them riff).
 

datadyne007

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Danta -- I'm generally not much of a fan of most so-called "Contemporary Art" -- still as the MFA now says proudly -- in its Press Release: " “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,” said Jen Mergel, the Museum’s Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “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 galleries will become a resource for audiences to revisit again and again to engage with an art experience that is truly ‘con tempos,’ with the times.”

I'm hopefull that with the MFA's amazing collection of "Previously Contemporary Art" -- that some of the new stuff can be put in the context of its ancestors, etc. -- much as the Chinese Ink exhibit did using the Chinese Masterpieces as inspirations to the contemporary artists

For example I like to see a commision of:
a silver or other metal work using the Revere Bowl and Copley Pix of Revere as an inspiration
a glass or LED piece using the Tiffany and LaFarge Stained Glass as an inspiration
a stone work based on an Egyptian, Greek, Asian stone figure or object

etc., etc., etc...


"
I totally agree with you. I never said that I believed that contemporary art stood on its own. Our present "contemporary art" uses the same principles of art that were set forth years ago. Each "style" ends up paying homage to an older one. I think that now that the MFA has a serious contemporary wing, people can begin to draw parallels across the galleries. Contemporary art was the only piece of the puzzle that was missing in the MFA. Pretty much, now the entire thing is complete.
 

DZH22

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When we talk about contemporary art, are we talking about the ICA-type exhibits? I went there a few years ago, and found it to be some of the most pathetic displays of "art" I had ever seen (granted I am not part of the art community or anything like that). One of them included somebody cutting out a bunch of wheels from magazine car ads and pasting them, haphazardly, all over a piece of poster-board, with a couple other random items cut out and pasted along with them. It looked like the kind of project that would have gotten me a "C" in middle school art class. Another exhibit was just a collection of old speakers. There was also a video of a man walking into a supermarket with a bow and arrow and "hunting" the food he was going to buy. It was mildly entertaining, but is this really what art has come to? If so, then I hope you will all enjoy my exhibit in the upcoming wing of the MFA. It's going to be the one entitled "basket of dirty laundry". When you are done admiring it, please feel free to put the clothes through the washer/dryer, fold them, and then ship them back to my house at your earliest convenience.
 

datadyne007

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When we talk about contemporary art, are we talking about the ICA-type exhibits? I went there a few years ago, and found it to be some of the most pathetic displays of "art" I had ever seen (granted I am not part of the art community or anything like that). One of them included somebody cutting out a bunch of wheels from magazine car ads and pasting them, haphazardly, all over a piece of poster-board, with a couple other random items cut out and pasted along with them. It looked like the kind of project that would have gotten me a "C" in middle school art class. Another exhibit was just a collection of old speakers. There was also a video of a man walking into a supermarket with a bow and arrow and "hunting" the food he was going to buy. It was mildly entertaining, but is this really what art has come to? If so, then I hope you will all enjoy my exhibit in the upcoming wing of the MFA. It's going to be the one entitled "basket of dirty laundry". When you are done admiring it, please feel free to put the clothes through the washer/dryer, fold them, and then ship them back to my house at your earliest convenience.
Yes, we are talking "ICA-style." And the ICA would welcome your installation "basket of dirty laundry" as long as you could explain the significance. Half of contemporary art is making the piece, the other half is coming up with the bullshit to sell it. They may suggest that you move a sock to align it with the sun or something, though.
 

itchy

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It was mildly entertaining, but is this really what art has come to?
DZH22: I'm finding it difficult to disagree with you. Really difficult.

I think the reason that museums have been creating/building contemporary art collections in recent years (the Metropolitan in New York is the first one that leaps to mind after the MFA) is that contemporary art is popular with two particular sets of people (and not many others): art critics and the mega-rich.

As a curator, the former, obviously, flatter you for being is "daring" and taking a bet on the hamper full of dirty gym socks from a "relative unknown" like DZH22. The art critic has his own interest: he spends a few hours writing a piece that allows him to establish himself as having a perceptive eye and being on the cutting edge if collectors or other curators decide (potentially based on the critic's article) that DZH22 is, in fact, a daring new artist of merit. For the critic, it's possibly higher risk, but also higher payout, than covering well-trod ground and writing about a Renoir or Assyrian bas-relief exhibition. So contemporary art allows curators and critics to see themselves as swashbuckling avant-gardists, regardless of the artistic merit of the hamper of gym socks. For its part, the museum, of course, gets publicity out of that publicity, which any museum wants.

Meanwhile, the mega-rich have found that there's much more supply of Damien Hirst works -- and that the artist attracts a flashier set -- than, say, Tang Dynasty pottery. Given that nearly endless supply, there can be a lot more (sexy) auctions of bedazzled chimp skulls and a great many more opportunities for you to attract attention and envy by buying said skull. In other words, the mega-rich (and some of them don't have great taste in art, in case you didn't know) have incentive to prefer contemporary art to, say, Dutch Masters. That contemporary art fuels a massive industry of galleries, auctions ... and all the parties, coke, and ego-stoking that go with it. For their part, museums survive (or at least grow fat) on donations from really wealthy people. Heck, if any of us could pull million-dollar donations off, we would too. But as a result, museums are pressured by donors who like contemporary art to boost their holdings of contemporary art (perhaps even their holdings of works by contemporary artists that the donors and trustees themselves collect ... imagine how much more valuable your Hirst gilded goatnads would be if featured at the MFA!). And if you're a museum today, your donors and trustees are the golden goose you don't want to upset.

In a word, it's a business. I'm on board with you in thinking that the vast, vast majority of contemporary art is atrocious and has no place at the MFA. (And, besides, we have an expensive ICA for that, in addition to MassMoCA, but nowhere else to see the art that has actually mattered/inspired throughout history.) Unfortunately, the MFA will have an incentive to beef up its Damien Hirst sequined octopus legs at the expense of Attic sculpture as long as the donors/trustees themselves are collecting the octopus legs. And they're likely to do that as long as doing so is, well, easier than collecting Attic sculpture. And as a function of time, loss, and the need to keep Damien Hirst's workshop profitable, that's unlikely to change. The only thing that may change it is that the welling backlash of a public ever-more skeptical of contemporary art may finally cause the entire bubble to burst ... but I don't know whether that public matters much to the inward-looking curators, collectors and academics.

But, hey, at least the groups of elementary schoolkids will probably find the contemporary art more accessible (or at least achievable), right? :rolleyes:
 

Tombstoner

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Our present "contemporary art" uses the same principles of art that were set forth years ago. Each "style" ends up paying homage to an older one.
I really disagree with this--the "principles" of art change radically over time (what art is, what it does, how it does it in 2011 would be unrecognizable to artists in 1911). I think every contemporary artist is tacitly reacting (don't know about "paying homage") to earlier art, but it's not so much a dialogue as a monologue. Contemporary art is less about craft and more about ideas and "literary"-ness. I sometimes think we no longer need painters--just write a letter to the editor.
 

statler

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Contemporary art has never been well received:

Of the Second Impressionist Exhibition of 1876, critic Albert Wolff wrote in Le Figaro: “Five or six lunatics, one of them a woman — a collection of unfortunates tainted by the folly of ambition — have met here to exhibit their works. … What a terrifying spectacle is this of human vanity stretched to the verge of dementia. Someone should tell M. Pissarro forcibly that trees are never violet, that the sky is never the colour of fresh butter, that nowhere on earth are things to be seen as he paints them. …”

When J.L. Gérôme was conducting President Loubet around the exhibitions at the Exposition Universelle of 1900, he stopped him at the door of the Impressionist room, saying, “Arrêtez, Monsieur le Président, c’est ici le déshonneur de la France!”
Source

On the other hand:

In 1924, irritated with the undiscerning faddishness of modern art criticism, Los Angeles novelist Paul Jordan Smith “made up my mind that critics would praise anything unintelligible.”

So he assembled some old paint, a worn brush, and a defective canvas and “in a few minutes splashed out the crude outlines of an asymmetrical savage holding up what was intended to be a star fish, but turned out a banana.” Then he slicked back his hair, styled himself Pavel Jerdanowitch, and submitted Exaltation to a New York artist group, claiming a new school called Disumbrationism.

The critics loved it. “Jerdanowitch” showed the painting at the Waldorf Astoria gallery, and over the next two years he turned out increasingly outlandish paintings, which were written up in Paris art journals and exhibited in Chicago and Buffalo.

He finally confessed the hoax to the Los Angeles Times in 1927. Ironically, “Many of the critics in America contended that since I was already a writer and knew something about organization, I had artistic ability, but was either too ignorant or too stubborn to see it and acknowledge it.” Can an artist found a school against his will?
Source
 

Beton Brut

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^Well played, statler.

I enjoy Montverdi, Sonny Rollins, and the Butthole Surfers. I hope it's okay to have the same range of interests in the visual arts, even if the artist is taking the piss.
 

whighlander

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I really disagree with this--the "principles" of art change radically over time (what art is, what it does, how it does it in 2011 would be unrecognizable to artists in 1911). I think every contemporary artist is tacitly reacting (don't know about "paying homage") to earlier art, but it's not so much a dialogue as a monologue. Contemporary art is less about craft and more about ideas and "literary"-ness. I sometimes think we no longer need painters--just write a letter to the editor.
Three relevant points of reference to the statement -- "all art is contemporary at some time"

1) or those logically challenged that not all that is contemporary will necessarily be viewed by posterity as art -- despite the artists or even promoters intensions

2) We have hit the Big time -- when I Googled MFA Linde Family Wing... --- the following came up on the first page

The New MFA Continued - archBOSTON.org
archboston.org/community/showthread.php?p=126351
5 posts - 3 authors
Time to restart the discussion of the MFA as the "Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art" is shaping up in the renovated I.M. Pei westWing and is soon to open ...


3) for those who are somewhat skeptics -- a well known minimalist artist Carl Andre lost a work at the world famous Tate Modern Bankside on the Thames in London -- the work consisted of:
a) a bucket
b) some water
c) a deflated balloon
d) a dead house fly

Mr. Andre completed his instalation in a gallery devoted to several of his other works typically called 'arrangement of ..." or sometimes untitled

This work was untitled and not even signed or 'tagged" by the artist .......


a not too well informed custodian removed it as he thought that the guy on the earlier shift had left a wash bucket behind
 

stellarfun

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So can the MFA free up enough gallery space to house the van Otterloo collection of Dutch art from the Golden Age?

The collection is up for grabs, the van Otterloos prefer it go to a U.S. museum in its entirety. The Peabody Essex would probably have to build a new wing, but the Peabody Essex was lead museum for the current tour of the collection (it is now out in San Francisco) and Mrs van Otterloo is on the PEM board.

Review in the Phoenix:

http://thephoenix.com/boston/arts/116405-van-otterloo-collection-at-the-peabody-essex-m/
 

whighlander

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So can the MFA free up enough gallery space to house the van Otterloo collection of Dutch art from the Golden Age?

The collection is up for grabs, the van Otterloos prefer it go to a U.S. museum in its entirety. The Peabody Essex would probably have to build a new wing, but the Peabody Essex was lead museum for the current tour of the collection (it is now out in San Francisco) and Mrs van Otterloo is on the PEM board.

Review in the Phoenix:

http://thephoenix.com/boston/arts/116405-van-otterloo-collection-at-the-peabody-essex-m/
The MFA essentially has an entire floor of the Evans Wing (Fenway Side that used to house the Art's of the Americas -- this entire wing is now dedicated to the Art of Europe

Sounds like an ideal blend -- Dutch Masters on one floor French Impressionists on the other
 

PaulC

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So can the MFA free up enough gallery space to house the van Otterloo collection of Dutch art from the Golden Age?

The collection is up for grabs, the van Otterloos prefer it go to a U.S. museum in its entirety. The Peabody Essex would probably have to build a new wing, but the Peabody Essex was lead museum for the current tour of the collection (it is now out in San Francisco) and Mrs van Otterloo is on the PEM board.

Review in the Phoenix:

http://thephoenix.com/boston/arts/116405-van-otterloo-collection-at-the-peabody-essex-m/
The MFA will do what ever it takes to get this collection. I would bet the books go into a new library in the Forsyth Building along with these 40,000 - 50,000 books:
Seibel says he will continue to buy libraries that seem particularly special. But the reality is that reference books are a tough sell. In fact, After 10 years of trying to sell the 40,000-50,000 reference books still in Ars Libri’s possession, Seibel decided late last year to donate them, as well as a huge quantity of journals and other documents, to the Museum of Fine Arts. The gift, says Rogers, “is a major contribution to the future study center we are planning.’’
http://www.boston.com/yourtown/bost...tion_ars_libri_heading_for_a_new_home/?page=8
Cherished and coveted
Collectors usually don’t like to talk publicly about where their art may end up, but the “Golden’’ show has the van Otterloos contemplating that very subject. Standing in her study, Rose-Marie raised a series of possibilities.

“Should it stay in Massachusetts? Should Europe have the collection? Belgium?’’

Eijk was more specific.

He said if they were to give it away now, it would probably go to the MFA. But he’s interested in hearing from MFA director Malcolm Rogers about how he might be able to accommodate a library of more than 10,000 Dutch art-history books the couple recently purchased.

The van Otterloos are also considering PEM; the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif.; and the National Gallery in Washington, at which admission is free, an attractive feature for a couple who say they think a lot about how to make art accessible to the public.

“Look, they probably have the most comprehensive collection of Dutch art assembled in our lifetimes in private hands,’’ said Sutton. “It’s an open secret that everybody would covet the collection.’’

The MFA’s Baer said acquiring the van Otterloo collection would be simply “amazing.’’

“It would lift the quality of our collection of Dutch painting to a whole different level,’’ she said. “It would be institution-changing.’’

But for now, the van Otterloos say they’re not ready to part with their work.

“People are making advances,’’ said Rose-Marie. “They’re starting to dance. All I can tell you is we have so much fun and we’re so proud of what we’ve done together.’’
http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_ar...he_public_at_the_peabody_essex_museum/?page=3
 
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kelleychri

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NU is doing extensive internal renovations on the Forsyth building because they signed a 10 year lease (turning it into labs). I believe in the contract there is either an option to buy after 10 years or a first right of refusal. I imagine for the MFA to buy NU out of the contract as well as renovating it into a museum space would be extremely expensive.
 

whighlander

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NU is doing extensive internal renovations on the Forsyth building because they signed a 10 year lease (turning it into labs). I believe in the contract there is either an option to buy after 10 years or a first right of refusal. I imagine for the MFA to buy NU out of the contract as well as renovating it into a museum space would be extremely expensive.
There are two buildings in the Forsythe complex:
1) the original building -- built to be compatible with the architecture of the MFA -- which the MFA is in the process of incorporating into the MFA campus and specifically converting the building to a study center / library
2) the larger 1960's ugly cement monster-- as attached -- which the MFA had talked of demolishing

I presume that NU is working inside the "New Forsythe" -- the cement monster

By the way -- in general when an instution with "the cash" and pedigee of the MFA buys a building they don't plan to sell it
 

whighlander

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There are two buildings in the Forsythe complex:
1) the original building -- built to be compatible with the architecture of the MFA -- which the MFA is in the process of incorporating into the MFA campus and specifically converting the building to a study center / library
2) the larger 1960's ugly cement monster-- as attached -- which the MFA had talked of demolishing

I presume that NU is working inside the "New Forsythe" -- the cement monster

By the way -- in general when an instution with "the cash" and pedigee of the MFA buys a building they don't plan to sell it
From the MFA -- In April [2010], the Museum entered into a letter of intent to rent the Forsyth building to Northeastern University, a process that concluded this summer with the signing of a 10-year lease. This lease allows for the building to be in good use, and provide a revenue stream until the Museum is ready to occupy it for its own purposes

From NU -- NU to lease 99,686 gross sq ft in Forysyth Building from MFA -- puting in some $4 to 6 M in interior rennovations

From Forsyth -- The historic Forsyth building was completed in 1914 and comprises approximately 107,000 square feet of existing space on 1.6 acres of land. The closing for the purchase is anticipated to take place in August 2007; Forsyth will become a tenant and remain in the building for some time while arrangements for its new facilities are completed....Forsyth has a New Home!... September 20, 2010 .. The Forsyth Institute, the world’s leading independent oral health research organization, has officially relocated to 245 First Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Forsyth is leasing 73,317 rentable square feet to accommodate its new home, which will include state-of-the-art laboratories, a new research clinic, meeting spaces and administrative offices.

So it looks as if:
1) MFA buys buildng fall 2007 -- and leases it back to Forsysth
2) MFA hires Ann Beha to master plan that part of the expanded campus
3) Forsyth moves out late 2010 -- and NU moves in 2011 with lease until 2020?

the question is is the difference in 99+K versus 107k sq. ft. significant or just noise ???
 

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