Sunday, February 9, 2014

More on my December Trip to Boston

By Charles Kessler

I’ve been busy with some family matters as well as some traveling. Sorry for the delay, but here's the second part of my report on Boston.

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) was strangely empty when I visited. There were times I didn't see another soul for several rooms – not even a guard – and it kind of creeped me out. I was told it was the time of year, and it's probably true since my hotel was pretty empty too. Everyone must have been in New York at the Museum of Modern Art. 
Room 213, Art of The Ancient World.
Room 250 - a salon-style gallery at the MFA.
I don't know why I never noticed this before, but the European paintings are hung relatively high at the MFA, not just those in the salon style galleries like room 250, but everywhere. Why? It's not like visitors have to look over crowds of people to see. 

I discovered a pretty good place to eat at the museum – in the basement cafeteria. Not only is the food much cheaper and not bad, but there's even a nice view looking out at the handsome Calderwood Courtyard. 
Cafeteria of the MFA, Boston.
And it's the only place in the Museum that's open for breakfast. The cafeteria is used mostly by museum employees, and you can only get there via a stairway in the Contemporary Art wing near the entrance to the Foster Gallery. Don't tell anyone! 

I saw a lot of John Singer Sargent's art in Boston: his paintings at the MFA collection, of course, as well as his sparkling watercolors at both the MFA and the Gardner, 
John Singer Sargent, Corfu: Lights and Shadows, 1909, translucent and opaque watercolor and graphite underdrawing.
and his awe-inspiring if overblown mural, The Triumph of Religion, at the Boston Public Central Library. 

I highly recommend the free tour of this grand and historic McKim, Mead, and White, 1888-95 building. In addition to the Sargent murals, there are monumental ones by Puvis de Chavannes, and bronzes and mosaics by several American artist. Here's a link about the tour and what it covers.

SOWA - The Boston Gallery District.
The gallery scene moved away from Newberry Street — at least the more vital galleries moved. They are now mostly located in what's called by the embarrassingly unoriginal name SoWa (South of Washington — on Thayer Street Between Harrison Ave. and Albany Street, a short walk from the Broadway Station on the Red Line over the 4th Street bridge). There are only about a dozen galleries, but they're good ones, and they show local as well as international art. The ones I liked best were AcmeSteven Zevitas and especially Miller/Yezerski (where Howard Yerzerski was kind enough to spend a lot of time with me). But it's easy enough to check them all out.

Next post: Denver, and especially the Clyfford Still Museum's exhibition of Still's works on paper. 

No comments: