Seasonal cheer at the MFA and the SMFA, Helen Molesworth at the Carpenter Center, Andrea Modica at BU
The Museum of Fine Arts offers a full-out festive immersion approach to the impending holidays this year — a line of attack that, in keeping with the contemporary spirit of art, embraces performing arts, multimedia, and site-specific. From December 9 through 17, in addition to the usual fine art on its walls, the MFA will offer “MFA for the Holidays,” a museum-wide holiday-themed event, with Victorian-garbed carolers strolling its galleries, “Holiday Tea” served daily in the Upper Rotunda, children’s Christmas and Hanukkah films in Remis Auditorium, family artmaking activities scattered throughout the place, audience-participation performances by the Nutcracker Players, and an intriguing program of holiday music and dance in the galleries — much of it free with museum admission — that includes North Indian music by saxophonist and composer Phil Scarff and his world jazz ensemble Natraj, Latin American and world music by José González (no, not the Swedish indie-folk guy who’s played the Remis) and the Criollo Clásico Ensemble, traditional Korean drumming, and the Amaryllis Chamber Ensemble.
While all this revelry is going on, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts will be staging its annual “December Sale” December 6-11, with more than 4000 paintings, prints, photos, ceramics, and jewelry by more than 800 artists affiliated with the SMFA. Proceeds from the sale benefit both the artists and SMFA student scholarships.
Two very different talks, by two very interesting women in the arts, on, alas, the same day. The Harvard University Art Museums recently announced the appointment of scholar, writer, and curator Helen Molesworth as their new curator of contemporary art. Molesworth comes to Harvard from the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, where she organized one recent exhibition exploring Louise Lawler’s work and another looking at sculpture produced as an outgrowth of Marcel Duchamp’s erotic objects and handmade readymades of the 1960s. On December 7 at 6 pm, she gives a free lecture at Harvard’s Carpenter Center, “Ambivalence and Failure, Painting As a Feminist.”
Also on December 7, at 7 pm, the Photographic Resource Center sponsors a talk by photographer Andrea Modica at BU’s Photonics Center. Best known for her series “Treadwell, N.Y.,” which records 10 years in the lives of a group of children in rural upstate New York, Modica uses a cumbersome 8x10 view camera to create images that go beyond the documentary into the realm of theater. Her photographs have been seen in, among others, Newsweek, the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair.
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