Our art editor took a trip to Boston last weekend—and returned with a list of must-see museums.
By Harry Feldman
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way
A cultural institution (and not just for what it contains): the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is maybe best known for its 1990 theft of over 500 millions dollars worth of masterworks by the likes of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas—and thus, it tops our list of most interesting not-to-be-missed Boston spots. The collection is housed in Gardner’s former residence, a century old palace modeled after 15th century palazzos. Where else would one get to stand in a lowly lit residence, looking at some of the most influential works of the past five centuries?
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave
Located right next to the Gardner Museum, the Boston MFA shows a huge range of work, from ancient to contemporary. With eleven shows on view, ranging from “Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia” to a show on 20th-century British prints, you’re bound to find something of interest. Make sure to check out the special events—the student art sales and film festivals should not be missed.
Boston Institute of the Arts
100 Northern Avenue
As far as Institutes of Contemporary Art go, Boston is about as great as they come. Overlooking Boston Harbor, the building was designed by Diller, Scofidio & Renfro, better known as architects behind the High Line in New York and The Broad in Los Angeles. Not only does this museum have a permanent collection (which, for the uninitiated, is unusual for an ICA) but they put on extremely well-researched shows sourcing works from all over the world. Currently on view is “Leap Before You Look,” a show highlighting Black Mountain College, the North Carolina school with illustrious alumni that include Chamberlain, Rauschenberg, and Twombly.
Harvard Art Museum
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge
Just like the university, the three museums under Harvard’s direction are of the utmost quality. The 250,000 work collection, one of the biggest of any university, is housed in a recently expanded and renovated building on Harvard’s Cambridge campus. Be sure not to miss the show “European and American Pop Art, 1955-1975” which surveys pop art through the typical lens, inclining works by artists like Jasper Johns and Warhol, but also positions non-American artists such as Gerhard Richter and David Hockney within the realm of Pop.