I moved to Boston 19 years ago and having visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts many times since then, I can say with confidence that the opening of its Art of the Americas wing has brought a palpable burst of energy to this institution. I always enjoyed visiting the museum, but I’ve found it especially invigorating and lively since this new addition. The light-filled atrium, known as the Shapiro Family Courtyard, is home to the casual New American Café, and also serves as a pass-through to the new exhibit spaces. It is a welcoming and expansive space that seems to beckon conversation and activity — never before have I heard so much chatter and excitement in the MFA Boston than when passing through this space.
The MFA Boston’s exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass creations last year in the new wing also breathed new interest into the museum. Photography was welcomed in the Chihuly exhibit, and imagery and word of the magical beauty of this light-infused display spread quickly. A favorite of the exhibit, placed not in the exhibit itself but in the new atrium, was Chihuly’s 42-foot tall green glass tree. In the fall of 2011, the museum announced that it had succeeded in its public appeal to raise enough money to obtain the much-adored tree as a permanent installation.
One of the museum’s recent acquisitions is that of Juno, the largest classical sculpture in the United States. Weighing 13, 000 pounds and standing 13 feet tall, and dating back to 17th century Rome, it was acquired in the 19th century by a wealthy Bostonian and brought to rest in a Brookline estate. In 2011, the MFA Boston acquired the sculpture. To see Juno’s careful journey from the Brookline estate to the MFA Boston, watch “Juno on the Move,” a 3-minute video.
Juno is currently undergoing a publicly viewed conservation with the intention to eventually move her into a future gallery.
If you haven’t been to the MFA Boston lately, I urge you to visit! For current and upcoming exhibits, visit the MFA Boston website.