This September, contemporary art will find a dynamic new home at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(MFA), when the Museum unveils the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. Located in the building I.M. Pei designed for the MFA in 1981, the wing will include seven new galleries that will present innovative approaches to the exhibition of contemporary art within the context of the Museums encyclopedic collections, offering new perspectives and encouraging connections between art of the past and present. The Henry and Lois Foster Gallery for rotating exhibitions will feature the exhibition Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture, the first museum survey of wood sculpture by the acclaimed artist. In addition, the Linde Family Wing will be a lively social space at the Museuma destination for full engagement with contemporary culture in all its forms through art, music, performances, readings, lectures, courses, and artist demonstrations. To mark the opening, the Museum will host a lively 24-hour celebrationbeginning with ticketed parties on September 17 and culminating in a free Open House on September 18at which it will debut the MFAs new acquisition, Christian Marclays 24-hour video, The Clock, in Remis Auditorium.
The Linde Family Wing, totaling more than 80,000 square feet, is housed in the Museums west-facing extension, where a barrel-vaulted skylight provides natural illumination throughout the wings two floors. It is named in recognition of the generosity of Museum benefactors Joyce Linde and her late husband, Edward Linde, and their family. The enhancement of the wing will more than triple the display of contemporary art, resulting in more than 21,000 square feet for the display of art.
The opening of the Linde Family Wing is a transformative moment for contemporary art at the MFA, said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum. The new galleries will provide a welcoming gateway for visitors to experience the excitement of contemporary art, opening new doors for the discovery of our collections. As one of the worlds greatest encyclopedic museums, the MFA can bridge past and present by placing contemporary art into a historical and global context. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Linde family, longtime friends and supporters of the Museum, the MFA will be able to create a vibrant new environment for the enjoyment of contemporary art.
Seven new collection galleries on Level 2 (within the area formerly occupied by the Museums Gund Gallery for special exhibitions and the exhibition shop) total 12,000 square feet. They will showcase thematic installations representing all media and cultures and will debut many new acquisitions and significant loans. The wings galleries will reflect the already global nature of the Museums collections, emphasizing that contemporary art is an extension of a range of traditions, histories, and cultures. A rich diversity of more than 200 works will be represented throughout the wing, including those by artists El Anatsui, Lynda Benglis, Mark Bradford, Kathy Butterly, Carlson/Strom, Cerith Wyn Evans, Mona Hatoum, Jim Hodges, Eva Hild, Matthew Day Jackson, Jun Kaneko, Ellsworth Kelly, Josiah McElheny, Sigmar Polke, Ken Price, Doris Salcedo, Timorous Beasties, Anne Truitt, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Fred Wilson, and Betty Woodman. Rotating exhibitions will be on view in the 4,500-square-foot Foster Gallery on Level 1, beginning with Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture. The exhibition showcases 19 of 30 wood sculptures by Kelly, an alumnus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). Also on Level 1 is The Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery for rotating exhibitions.
Additionally, Art Walls in the wing will debut key contemporary acquisitions to give visitors a first look at the latest highlights and will feature thematic installations and special projects. The first thematic installation on the walls on Level 1 and 2 will be Sparking Dialogue, which introduces electric-lit text-based works to offer open-ended statements and prompt discussion about contemporary culture. Inspired by the Museums keystone work in the Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleriathe scrolling LED Truisms by Jenny Holze (1991)this thematic installation will include more than a dozen works by international artists. On Level 2, the installation will feature recent works by Kader Attia, Tracey Emin, Claire Fontaine, and Joseph Kosuth. Newly created works will debut in Boston, including a site-specific installation of Maurizio Nannuccis neon text, All Art Has Been Contemporary (first created in 1999) on the Hope and Mel Barkan Art Wall, and SMFA alumnus Wade Aarons Intent (conceived in 2009), which spells out the word intent in a grid of incandescent light bulbs (timed to burn out one by one) a technology scheduled to be phased out in 2012 that literally manifests the fading of intent. Along the full length of the longest (120-foot) wall on Level 1 will be painted Mañana Man, a major new piece by Kay Rosen created for the MFA. Planned for the Lisbeth Tarlow and Steve Kay Art Wall is the presentation of works by the 2011 winner of the MFAs Maud Morgan Prize, Cambridge artist Wendy Jacob. Planned for the Michael D. Wolk Art Wall is the debut of recent major acquisitions to the contemporary collection.
With the unveiling of the wing, the MFA will offer a variety of opportunities for visitors to appreciate contemporary culture through special programs, including gallery talks, artist demonstrations, performances, lectures, films, and concerts. New programs will be scheduled on Contemporary Thursdays, weekly evening presentations designed to enhance engagement with contemporary art in the Linde Family Wing. In addition, the Museum will continue to connect to audiences through social media. The launch of a special As Us Anything campaign will allow the public to ask any questions that they have about contemporary art, connecting them with the MFAs contemporary art curators, sparking dialogue about the new wing and works of art at the MFA outside of the walls of the Museum. The MFAs website, www.mfa.org, also will feature the Museums first on-line magazine highlighting art and programming in the new wing.
The renovation of the contemporary art wing also includes the creation of lively social spaces. Public programs, including films, lectures, and concerts, will take place in 380-seat Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium, which showcases the MFAs Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program. Additional offerings will be presented in the Mabel Louise Riley Seminar Room and in two new education spaces. Visitors will be able to grab a bite and relax in taste, the redesigned café and wine bar on Level 1. They will also be able to enjoy the wings two other dining venuesthe completely renovated Bravo restaurant on Level 2, and the existing Garden Cafeteria on the ground level. Additionally, the wing will include the renovated Bookstore and Shop, where visitors can browse through one of the largest collections of art books in New England.
The Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art is a milestone for the MFA. Acting as a crossroads for all contemporary collections and programming at the Museum, the wing will raise the prominence and vitality of our contemporary programs in distinctive and significant ways, said Edward Saywell, Chair of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. With a rich variety of installations, exhibitions, films, lectures, courses, concerts, performances, and community activities, the wing will be an inspiring place for all visitors to engage with todays art in an environment that is open and welcoming to all.
To mark the opening of the newly renovated wing, the MFA will host a 24-hour celebration: an Opening Party at 7 p.m. ($200), an After Hours party at 11 p.m. ($100), both on Saturday, September 17; and a Wee Hours party at 3 a.m. ($50) on Sunday, September 18, followed by a free Open House from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. As part of opening festivities, the MFA will premiere its recent acquisition, Christian Marclays acclaimed 24-hour video, The Clock, in Remis Auditorium. A masterwork of film sampling and editing, The Clock is a compilation of thousands of movie and TV clips of clocks and watches that tell the current time at any given moment. It will be synchronized with real-time opening events (beginning at 7 p.m. on September 17). Directly referencing the remarkable history of film, The Clock evokes the present while reinforcing how contemporary art is part of a rich continuum.
The transformation of gallery and public spaces in the wing will allow the Museums Department of Contemporary Art and MFA Programs to present the art of our times through fresh perspectives. Anticipating questions visitors may have about contemporary culture, the seven collection galleries will be installed thematically, rather than by chronology, defined art movements, or medium. Installations will invite dialogue about what is contemporary art: How do artists push the boundaries of what we understand art can be? How is the work made and why? How does the art of today relate to that of the past? Historical works drawn from the MFAs encyclopedic collections will provide context and counterpoints within the contemporary installations, juxtaposing a rich variety of media, including painting, works on paper, sculpture, wall installations, decorative arts, video, new media, and design.
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 Museums 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.
The Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art includes:
Seven new collection galleries
Henry and Lois Foster Gallery for special exhibitions
Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery for display of works by SMFA alumni and participants in the Community Arts Initiative
Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria, featuring Art Walls and a lively social space
Three dining venues, including the new café and wine bar, taste
Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium for films, lectures, and presentations
Two new education and community classrooms, and redesigned Mabel Louise Riley Seminar Room for education and community engagement
Bookstore and Shop
Courtyard Gallery (for young artists)