Museum of Fine Arts Developments | Fenway

whighlander

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MFA Boston Announces $24 Million Conservation Center
http://www.mfa.org/news/conservation-center

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Announces $24 Million Renovation of Conservation Laboratories
BOSTON (November 10, 2016)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has announced a $24 million renovation project that will create a state-of-the-art Conservation Center comprising 22,000 square feet and six laboratories.

The transformational renovation is supported by gifts, grants and MFA funds, completing the largest fundraising effort for conservation in the Museum’s 146-year history.

...Additionally, the renovation project, which is scheduled to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2019, allows the Museum to convert 12,000 square feet of space into future galleries for Asian, European and Ancient World displays.

...." The project also provides the opportunity to open new galleries in the years to come, allowing increased display of works of art for the public to enjoy.”[Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director.] ]

...The $24 million project is supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Honorary Trustee Rose-Marie van Otterloo and her husband Eijk, anonymous donors and MFA funds. The paintings conservation lab has been named the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Paintings Conservation Studio.

.....The new Conservation Center will consist of six collaborative laboratories for paintings, objects, frame and furniture conservation, as well as mountmaking and exhibition preparation and scientific research.

... Featuring upgraded technology and air-handling systems, the new Center will have open floor plans with heightened ceilings that maximize use of natural light, and increased area for public interaction. Additional improvements include direct access to the freight elevator and renovated loading dock, which will facilitate transportation of large-scale paintings, sculpture and furniture.

...

There was a time when spending $24M on a project would make it something pretty special -- today we kind of dismiss it as "infill"

Yet because its the MFA one of Boston's premier World-Class institutions and because it may be the harbinger or still more as the new director [emperor] get's his feet used to trodding the corridors of his empire -- it is special

Nothing yet beyond a couple of press releases -- we don't even know where this project is located -- except for the hint "Additional improvements include direct access to the freight elevator and renovated loading dock, which will facilitate transportation of large-scale paintings, sculpture and furniture. -- this suggests the location is between the "I M Pei entrance" and the existing loading dock

Extreme right in this photo and down in the basement with a lot of glass looking up
 

Tombstoner

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Any possibility this might be integrated into the old Forsyth Institute building after the expiration of the NEU lease? I thought the initial plan was to make that a center for curation.

Edit: there is a loading dock and elevator there too.
 
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whighlander

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Any possibility this might be integrated into the old Forsyth Institute building after the expiration of the NEU lease? I thought the initial plan was to make that a center for curation.

Edit: there is a loading dock and elevator there too.
Tombstoner -- No this is the difference between Curators [sort of like a music director] who put the season or program together and Music Librarians who track-down the music -- not s good analogy

Here's a bit of a case history of conservation in actiion

Consider the Mammoth & Monumental West’s Devout Men Taking the Body of Saint Stephen

West like Copley was and American ex-pat [born in Philly] he left the provinces for London in 1763 and stayed there for the rest of his life.

The first martyr of the Christian Church, Saint Stephen was stoned to death for his teachings....West was working for a Protestant church hierarchy that deplored sensationalism. To promote ideals of compassion and faith, he chose a gentler subject—the sorrow and devotion of Stephen’s followers as they laid his body to rest. West’s composition borrows from scenes of the lamentation and entombment of Christ, visually linking Stephen’s martyrdom to Christ’s sacrifice. He painted this monumental canvas in 1776 for the Church of Saint Stephen, Walbrook, in central London, designed by Christopher Wren in 1679 and famous for its elegant interior.

Originally placed prominently at the east end of the church behind the altar,


the painting was moved to the north wall in 1852, and eventually removed altogether and sold.
Johnson-Fidelity money purchased the painting which had to be adjudicated in the Ecclesiastical Courts in London

It arrived in Boston in a roll in 2013 -- and getting it to the existing painting Conservation lab was a bit of challenge


Conservation is still working on it

Curators will decide where it is to hang -- My Guess iis the Big Open Wall on the Ground Floor Entry to the American Wing
 

TomOfBoston

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If I remember correctly the MFA purchased the former Forsyth Institute building to be converted into a conservation center. It is currently under long tern lease to Northeastern, which is interested in purchasing it from the MFA.
 

dwash59

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Tombstoner -- No this is the difference between Curators [sort of like a music director] who put the season or program together and Music Librarians who track-down the music -- not s good analogy
The real point is, Malcolm Rogers envisioned the Forsyth Institute as being a center for curators and conservators, so both things and no need for any discussion of the differences. He also said he wanted to leave such decisions in the hands of the next director, so he didn't make any moves that would guarantee that fate. Seemingly, the new director has taken a different direction than Malcolm Rogers would have.
 

PaulC

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JohnAKeith

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I wish I had good gossip on this but I don't. All I've been told is what has made public. I think my source wised up and realize he shouldn't tell me anything. :eek:/

I wanted conservation to go to the Forsyth building accessible by a tunnel the MFA would build below the street ... but no one ever took me up on the idea.

My fear (as I mentioned in the post about Punter's and the WIT playing field) is that, if the MFA sold, the buyer could then build something of significant size above / next to the existing Forsyth building, affecting the MFA significantly. Again, I'm the only one who thinks this is an issue, I guess.

Interestingly, at least according to the city assessor, the MFA owns the Forsyth building, a parcel to the north of it, and ::half:: the parking lot on the other side? And, the city owns the rest of the parking lot and the "park" next to it? If true, that's weird.

(Seen below is the MFA to the left / bottom, and the Forsyth center, with parcel borders in blue.)

 

whighlander

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That's where I was told it would hang as a bridge between the European and American wings. It's now installed, perhaps for a temporary exhibit, in gallery 246.


http://www.mfa.org/collections/feat...utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social-post


https://mobile.twitter.com/mfabosto...1?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^tweet
Paul,

By the looks of things its not moving any time soon


Artists on the Move in 18th-Century Europe
Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)

The recently acquired Devout Men Taking the Body of Saint Stephen by Benjamin West is one of the largest paintings in the MFA’s collection, and, together with its towering frame, measures over 18 1/2 feet tall. Its dramatic presentation in Gallery 246 brings into focus the allure Italy had for artists and well-to-do travelers on the Grand Tour.

A work by an American-born painter indebted to the lessons of Italian Renaissance art, West’s monumental altarpiece, completed in 1776, was originally installed in London’s St. Stephen Walbrook, a church designed by Christopher Wren.

Here at the MFA the painting is joined by John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Izard (1775), an American couple he painted while in Rome, which gives new context to Giovanni Paolo Pannini’s imaginary Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome (1757), painted for the French ambassador to the Vatican.

...an imposing new setting with West’s altarpiece as the focal point for new discussions about how works of art and artists traveled across borders both intellectual and geographical. Adding to the rich mix are paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts by English, Italian, French, and German artists.
I think that we are seeing the influence of the New Director on how things are exhibited -- very thematic rather than chronological or even the media.

Coming about a year from now is a major gallery devoted to "Everyday Life in Ancient Greece"
 

Tombstoner

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I wish I had good gossip on this but I don't. All I've been told is what has made public. I think my source wised up and realize he shouldn't tell me anything. :eek:/

I wanted conservation to go to the Forsyth building accessible by a tunnel the MFA would build below the street ... but no one ever took me up on the idea.

My fear (as I mentioned in the post about Punter's and the WIT playing field) is that, if the MFA sold, the buyer could then build something of significant size above / next to the existing Forsyth building, affecting the MFA significantly. Again, I'm the only one who thinks this is an issue, I guess.

Interestingly, at least according to the city assessor, the MFA owns the Forsyth building, a parcel to the north of it, and ::half:: the parking lot on the other side? And, the city owns the rest of the parking lot and the "park" next to it? If true, that's weird.

(Seen below is the MFA to the left / bottom, and the Forsyth center, with parcel borders in blue.)

Please do share any gossip you hear about this; I live in a building next to the Forsyth and am dying to know what's happening in this potentially exciting area. I think it could really use some upscale dining or retail to counteract the pizza-burrito vibe of the East Fens (I think a 3-season biergarten + stage where conservatory students could perform would be killer). As the West Fens becomes more dynamic and the Avenue of the Arts kind of languishes with academic mediocrity (Tree House notwithstanding) the MFA feels somewhat isolated.
 

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JohnAKeith

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To be completed in time for the Museum's 150th anniversary, in 2020!

PS. The Clock ends this weekend!
 

whighlander

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To be completed in time for the Museum's 150th anniversary, in 2020!
Time for an update [Clock Reference?]

Here's a single scanty render of what is under construction now with opening in the next 6 to 12 month

https://d1nn9x4fgzyvn4.cloudfront.n...3_rendering-conserv-center.jpg?itok=dGskD2ab/

The new Conservation Center is a major renovation of the George Robert White Wing and opened in 1970. The wing was originally designed by Hugh Stubbins with a purpose built upper floor for conserevation.

The new work involves reconstruction of 22,000 sq ft into an open floor plan on two levels [3 &4] renovation

And then today on a Google search -- I found a submission made to the Boston Landmarks Commissiion last year about this time
https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/imce-uploads/2018-08/mfa.pdf

Its full of images both drawings and renders -- not sure if this is what is actually built -- but its a significant project

Perhaps someone has some "secrets" which they can share?
 

whighlander

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Update on MFA project -- mostly inside
from the mfa website with my highlights in color and bold

MFA Boston Announces Major Renovation of Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries
Experiential Spaces and Renewed Interpretation to Provide Contemporary Perspectives

More than 500 Newly Conserved Objects Across Media to Bring the Ancient World to Life

BOSTON—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is undergoing a major renovation and reinstallation of four galleries at the heart of the George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World, which will display nearly 500 objects ranging from the beginnings of Greek art (about 1100 B.C.E.) through the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century and into the present day. Scheduled to open in spring 2021, this project will create a grand entry for visitors to the MFA’s renowned collection of Classical art—one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. The galleries will showcase iconic highlights of the collection, including many objects that have not been on view, adding to a renovated suite of 11 Classical galleries completed since 2009—most recently Daily Life in Ancient Greece. The renovations are made possible by a broad coalition of 24 donors, led by George D. and Margo Behrakis, The Krupp Family Foundation, Richard and Nancy Lubin and an anonymous donor.......

Highlights of the four new spaces include:

  • Anchored by the Museum’s beloved 13-foot Juno statue, a highlight of the renovation is a new gallery dedicated to “Gods and Goddesses,” which will re-create the atmosphere of a temple. Featuring large-scale sculptures as well as more intimate objects ranging in date from the 5th century B.C.E. to the 3rd century C.E., the immersive space will introduce the personalities, feats and fates of the deities the Greeks and Romans worshipped, and explore ancient religious practices.
  • A Byzantine gallery, the first of its kind in New England, will cover a geographically diverse collection of works ranging in origin from the era of Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. This includes the 15th-century Monopoli altar, which will be on view for the first time after undergoing major conservation. Evocative of an altar in an early Byzantine church, the space will feature a soundscape reflecting liturgical chants.

  • A gallery exploring Early Greek Art—a major strength of the MFA’s collection—from its beginnings in the wake of Mycenae (about 1100 B.C.E.) to the Persian Wars (480/479 B.C.E.) includes the Mantiklos Apollo, the most famous object in the MFA’s Greek collection.
  • A gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art will demonstrate connections between the art of the late 19th–early 21st centuries and the Classical world.
1578814811283.jpeg



......As the ‘Athens of America,’ Boston deserves the best presentation of these renowned works of art.”

In addition to showcasing iconic works of art, the renovations will include grand architectural enhancements—including greater ceiling height—as well as multimedia and digital technology interventions and environmental systems including air conditioning, and increased natural lighting. The renovations will unify the collection and connect to previously renewed spaces, leading the visitor on a natural progression that provides a window into ancient life, including athletic pursuits and gender roles; coins as both works of art and tools of exchange; and jewelry as a symbol of portable wealth.
Next visit I plan to see if there are any obvious manifestations other than closed off galleries
 

itchy

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Didn't they just renovate many of the Greek galleries in the last 3-4 years? (The new galleries are great, by the way.)

From what I can understand, this renovation re-do those as well... (though happy to be wrong). Seems like a weird duplication of spending efforts?

*****
EDIT: Upon actually reading the press release (as opposed to the info I'd seen a few weeks ago), it looks like the new galleries will not be re-done once again but incorporated into the updated wing, which makes sense. This sounds great (other than the dubious "Classical and Contemporary Juxtaposition Gallery," which sounds like wishy-washy flavor-of-the-moment garbage groupthink).

"The galleries will showcase iconic highlights of the collection, including many objects that have not been on view, adding to a renovated suite of 11 Classical galleries completed since 2009—most recently Daily Life in Ancient Greece."
 
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itchy

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This is also great to see:

"...In 2020 some of its greatest Egyptian masterpieces will be reinstalled and reinterpreted in two newly designed and renovated space."

Along with Greek and Roman art, the Egyptian galleries are absolutely foundational (and staggering) at the MFA, but have been neglected as a capital spending priority.
 

whighlander

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This is also great to see:

"...In 2020 some of its greatest Egyptian masterpieces will be reinstalled and reinterpreted in two newly designed and renovated space."

Along with Greek and Roman art, the Egyptian galleries are absolutely foundational (and staggering) at the MFA, but have been neglected as a capital spending priority.
Itchy -- the MFA is using the 150th Anniversary to re-locate the previously juxtaposed Egyptian and Greco-Roman
Essentially the goal is enter Egypt through the Massive King Menkaura Statue Galllery -- everything will be on the ground floor right off the SHAPIRO FAMILY COURTYARD Glass Box
-- one of the largest and best preserved Old-Kingdom statues outside of Egypt

If you want to go Greco-Roman -- well then start with the new gallery dedicated to “Gods and Goddesses,” which will re-create the atmosphere of a temple. -- located just off the Rotunda on the 2nd floor -- and of course pay homage to Juno
-- the largest Classical Greek-Roman statue in North America [although some consider her to be well "plain"] -- since she probably was elevated and you didn't get to see her as close as you can@ the MFA

It should be an interesting 12-18 months as both of these great collections get relocated and re-displayed and then the Netherlands Study Center and Conservation Labs open as well

MFA @ 150th -- looking Good

✔ 🔔🔔✔😋
 

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