7 museum moments that stick

Let’s start with a caveat: “Best ofs,” even at the best of times, are a dubious enterprise. And these are not the best of times. This year, with its unforgiving lurches between hope and despair, “best” is an imperfect term for a complicated time. So, here are seven shows I saw that stuck, and that come back unbidden with something new to teach. That’s not best. But maybe it’s something better.

1. LEDELLE MOE: WHEN Moe’s great big exhibition in Mass MoCA’s great big building five — an indoor, football-field-size gallery with four-story-high ceilings and walls of windows on two sides — had opened way, way back in late 2019, in the Time Before. I’d walked through it a dozen times that first pandemic year, always struck by the almost visceral sense of loss it conveyed; the show, called “When,” felt unstuck in time, a stroll amid ruins, its giant,

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Boston College’s art museum receives a $20 million gift of paintings by Sargent, Rivera and Picasso

The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College has received its most significant gift ever: a trove that includes 27 paintings by acclaimed artists including Pablo Picasso, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt — along with three works on paper, including one by Diego Rivera.

Diego Rivera, "Family" (1934), Ink on paper. (Courtesy Boston College)
Diego Rivera, “Family” (1934), Ink on paper. (Courtesy Boston College)

Peter Lynch, vice chairman of Fidelity Management and a graduate of the college, amassed the collection with his late wife Carolyn over many decades. Boston College estimates their gifts’ worth to be more than $20 million dollars. It’s now counted among the largest donations ever given to the school in its 130-year history.

Museum director and Boston College art history professor Nancy Netzer is moved and honored to be entrusted as the collection’s steward and calls this a transformational moment.

“It allows us to expand our role as a vital educational resource, which is offered

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Beach museum exhibit pairs animals, cultures, art styles

Jul. 17—The animals came marching two by two to the Beach Museum of Art.

“Two by Two: Animal Pairs” features sets of animals portrayed in different styles and media. Inspired by the American Library Association’s summer reading program theme “Tales and Tails” at Manhattan Public Library, the pairs on display can teach kids to compare and contrast both the art itself, but also how different cultures view the animals.

“It’s kind of a Noah’s Ark,” said Kathrine Schlageck, associate curator of education and curator of the exhibit.

The museum is now open by appointment with plans to fully reopen on Aug. 24. “Two by Two” consists of 13 pairs of art depicting animals in the physical exhibit. Additional pairs can be viewed on the Beach Museum website.

In order to complement the summer reading program curriculum, Schlageck said she wanted to select pieces that were very different because it gave

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Family Fun: Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture features exhibits for engagement, exploration

Step inside the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture on a hot day, and the first thing you might notice is how cool it is.

To protect its collections and any traveling exhibits, the temperature in the museum never goes above 72 degrees or below 68, said exhibitions manager Brooke Shelman Wagner. It almost feels chilly on a hot summer day.

And, once visitors go downstairs, they’ll find exhibits that can keep families engaged and exploring.

“What We Make: Nature as Inspiration” is a maker space inside a gallery where people can see pieces from the MAC’s collection and make their own pieces in response.

It’s an idea that Shelman Wagner has had brewing for years and the first of four annual exhibits that will feature maker spaces. The goal, Shelman Wagner said, “is to remind people that we’re all makers.”

Inside the exhibit, there are four areas with works

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