The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, one of the great public museums established just after the Civil War, has recently opened “Art of the Americas,” a new wing filled with its outstanding collections of American fine and decorative arts. As some of you know, the Boston MFA underwent a controversial restructuring more than a decade ago, shifting from departments organized by media (e.g., paintings, ceramics, furniture) to geography (e.g., Europe, Asia, and America) and firing some longtime curators (including Jonathan Fairbanks, who created the American Decorative Arts and Sculpture department at the MFA). I’m assuming one of the results of this restructuring is “Art of the Americas.” This four-story exhibit consists of 53 galleries tracing the history of art from pre-Columbian to Modern periods for the continents of North and South America, so along with the expected Chippendale chairs and Copley portraits, there are Peruvian funerary urns and Acoma pots. It’s so large that it took me nearly three hours just to cruise through it at a walking pace and I didn’t make it to the fourth floor, which explored the 20th century.
Unlike most art museums, the exhibit mixes Continue reading