Harvard Art Museums announce reopening plans for September
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Harvard Art Museums announce reopening plans for September
Sim Chi Yin (Singaporean, b. 1978), Mountain range surrounding the Nevada test site, November 2017. Archival pigment print. Harvard Art Museums, Richard and Ronay Menschel Fund for the Acquisition of Photographs, 2020.181. © Sim Chi Yin; image courtesy of the artist.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- The Harvard Art Museums announced today plans to reopen to the public on Saturday, September 4, 2021. Advance reservations will be required for visitors and will be available up to three weeks in advance. Reservations can be made on the museum website beginning August 20. A limited number of tickets may also be available each day to walk-in visitors. In conjunction with the reopening plans, the museums are also pleased to announce a new “Free Sundays” initiative. The museums will offer preview days for members and supporters on Thursday and Friday, September 2–3, before opening to the general public on September 4.

“We are thrilled to be reopening to all visitors after the extraordinary events of the last year and a half,” said Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director. “I am enormously proud of the efforts of our talented and dedicated staff, who helped keep the museums a vital resource through online programs even while our doors have been closed.” She continued: “It is with great joy that we now look forward to welcoming everyone to visit in person, whether you know us well or are visiting for the first time. The galleries, study rooms, and the beloved Calderwood Courtyard have been re-energized with you in mind.”

A new “Free Sundays” program will be launched when the museums reopen in September. Advance reservations will be required on Sundays until further notice. Each Sunday, the museums will offer free admission to all visitors; this new program supplements the museums’ preexisting opportunities for free admission, which extend to Harvard ID holders, all students (regardless of institution), Harvard Art Museums members, youth under 18, and all Cambridge residents, among others. Besides free admission, Cambridge residents can also receive additional benefits by joining the museums’ new Cambridge Friends program. As part of this complimentary program, Cambridge Friends will receive the museum newsletter, invitations to select Friends programs, and a discount in the museum shop, among other benefits. The museum shop and Jenny’s Cafe are both expected to reopen in the fall.

“We view the reopening as an opportunity to provide additional points of access that make it easier to visit,” said Tedeschi. “Our online museum community grew exponentially while we were closed because of the pandemic, and we now want to turn our attention to extending the warmest possible invitation to every visitor to the museums, whether new or returning.”

In alignment with Harvard University policies and guidance, the museums have been closed since March 2020. Upon reopening, the museums will operate at reduced capacity to prioritize the health and safety of visitors, staff, and the wider campus community. Other helpful visitor information, including additional health and safety measures, is updated regularly on the museum website. Visitors are encouraged to check the website as they plan their visit.

On Display This Fall

Four new exhibitions and many new gallery installations will be on view this fall at the Harvard Art Museums:

Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970
September 17, 2021–January 16, 2022, Special Exhibitions Gallery

Devour the Land shines a light on the unexpected and often hidden consequences of militarism on habitats and well-being in the United States. Featuring approximately 160 photographs by 60 artists, the exhibition reveals the nationwide footprint of the U.S. military, the wide network of industries that support and supply its work, and the impacts of—and responses to—this activity. How do photographs portray environmental damage that can be difficult to see, much less identify and measure? By posing such questions, the exhibition provides visitors a space to consider our current challenges and shared future. At the same time, the works on view also suggest how preparations for war and the aftermath can sometimes lead to surprising instances of ecological regeneration and change.

States of Play: Prints from Rembrandt to Delsarte
September 4, 2021–January 2, 2022, University Research Gallery

Spanning more than three centuries, the works in this exhibition—by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Lee Krasner, Jacques Philippe Le Bas, and Louis Delsarte—unveil the layers of creative revision, correction, and adjustment behind finished prints. Central to this process is the concept of a “print state,” which traditionally refers to a version of a print that precedes the final product. The exhibition explores how artists across time have maximized the iterative potential of states, for reasons ranging from the practical to the whimsical. By decoding creative choices that the artist pursued or abandoned in each successive step, the exhibition helps uncover the full breadth of experimentation and demystifies printmaking terminology and techniques.

A Colloquium in the Visual Arts
September 4, 2021–January 2, 2022, University Teaching Gallery

This installation supports the Harvard course Humanities 20, an introduction to the study of the humanities through major works of art and architecture from around the world: everything from ancient Persian sculpture to modern stop-motion photography. The course is taught by six members of the Harvard faculty: Jinah Kim, Joseph Koerner, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Yukio Lippit, Jennifer Roberts, and David Roxburgh.

Ongoing; Phase 1 on view beginning September 4, 2021

The Harvard Art Museums’ new ReFrame initiative aims to reimagine the function, role, and future of the university art museum. ReFrame shines a light on difficult histories, investigates untold narratives, and experiments with different approaches to storytelling. The initiative seeks to inspire, challenge, and connect museumgoers, asking visitors to think about which artists, which groups of people, and which cultures are seen or unseen. Ultimately, the initiative is designed to build community around these experiences with the museums’ collections. Visitors this fall will encounter several initial ReFrame installations, which include changes to key works in highly visible and heavily trafficked areas of the museums. Works of art identified as part of the ReFrame project include:

• The long-term loan of Kehinde Wiley’s painting Portrait of Asia-Imani, Gabriella-Esnae, and Kaya Palmer (2020), from the artist’s recent series The Yellow Wallpaper; new on view in Gallery 1330 beginning September 4.

• The 1985 sculpture Dibujo sin Papel 85/1 (Drawing without Paper 85/1) by Venezuelan artist Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), made with found materials—wire, string, wood, and aluminum tubes—to create an organic form that marries the language of structure with a sense of experimentation; acquired in 2020 and new on view in Gallery 1110 beginning September 4.

• A selection of black and white photographs of students from the nearby Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 1981, made by Linda Benedict Jones for her portfolio CRLS; acquired in 2019 and new on view in Gallery 1320 beginning September 4.

• David Hammons’s video Phat Free (1995/1999), the only known video work by the artist and a layered rumination on life at the margins and the simple beauty of everyday chance encounters; on short-term display in Gallery 1120 beginning September 4.

• A reinstallation of German expressionist holdings, situating Emil Nolde’s painting Mulatto (1913) and its unnamed subject in the context of the Black German experience and the infamous Nazi “Degenerate Art” campaign; on view in Gallery 1500 beginning September 4.

• An installation of Ahuramazda in the Winged Disk, a fifth-century BCE limestone relief fragment from the Hall of 100 Columns at Persepolis in Iran, highlighting the original context of this monumental work and presenting a color reconstruction of the fragment, based on traces of original pigments from its surface; on view in nearby Galleries 3440 and 3460 beginning September 4.

• The new installation “Female Artists—or Simply Artists?” featuring 18th-century prints by seven printmakers, many of whom are little known today, one of three concurrent displays critically examining the terminology, framework, and questions used to discuss female artists in printmaking; on display in Galleries 2220, 2400, and 2540 beginning September 4.

• A stoneware jar by David Drake, an enslaved African American potter working in South Carolina in the mid-19th century; on view in Gallery 2100 beginning mid-September.

• A newly renovated Japanese paintings gallery with works by Okuhara Seiko, Kano Sansetsu, and Okutani Shuseki, highlighting all the major early modern painting formats and the creative “frames” through which we encounter them today; on display in Gallery 2600 beginning in December.

These represent just the first efforts to reorient the museums’ collections toward today’s concerns; more works will be added as the project develops and expands in scope.

Krzysztof Wodiczko: Portrait
October 14, 2021–April 17, 2022, Gallery 1120 (Level 1)

Explore the state of democracy today through a commissioned artwork by internationally renowned artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, presented at the Harvard Art Museums in partnership with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Prerecorded video interviews capturing voices and opinions from across the political spectrum will activate the Harvard Art Museums’ iconic portrait of George Washington (c. 1795) by Gilbert Stuart, fostering an exchange of views and responses at this time of heightened political division. The design school will present a career-spanning look at Wodiczko’s work in their own galleries later in the fall.

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