by Kurt Cole Eidsvig, Boston Visual Arts blogger
As the city is currently in the middle of a major artistic revival, there is no better time than now to appreciate the many museums and galleries that Boston has to offer. Just as the city has been transformed through the Big Dig, with the Rose Kennedy Greenway becoming a public garden and sculpture park and the Financial District and West End now finally united with the North End and Seaport District, the major museums in town have similarly made significant efforts to create new space, expand, and reach out to an ever-widening audience.
In 2010 The Museum of Fine Arts opened its Art of the Americas Wing, part of a $100 million dollar expansion effort which created 120,000 square feet of space and allowed for the display of 5,000 additional works from the MFA’s collections. Further, in 2011, the museum opened the doors of the new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. An 80,000 square foot space housing 250 works, the new wing represents the MFA’s ambition to create a bridge from its current collection up through contemporary art.
New opportunities for viewing contemporary works are also made possible by the huge new facility the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) created on the waterfront in the Seaport District in 2006. The first new museum in Boston in over 100 years, the wide open space has allowed the ICA to begin amassing an exciting permanent collection. Great acquisitions from artists like Cornelia Parker, Cindy Sherman and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, have already been made. Combine this with exciting exhibitions like Shepard Fairey’s first solo show, or Jenny Holzer’s projection work, and the new ICA has clearly found a new home in Boston.
Combine these developments with other ongoing, noteworthy events – like the plans underway for a major expansion at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the successful preservation of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis, and the deCordova under new leadership with great new programs and exhibitions – and it is surely an incredibly exciting time to enjoy the visual arts in Boston. With an active art community that spans from Fort Point through the South End and Jamaica Plain, along with numerous galleries and university museums throughout the city, and there are numerous options, from antiquity to the present day, for audiences to enjoy.