February 19, 2011

Missed Connections at Boston's MFA

I was finally able to visit the new wing at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts last weekend. The architecture critics have hashed it over and, I think, generally get it right: It works well, but there is no passion there. (See Ada Louise Huxtable in the WSJ, for example.) The lack of passion perhaps means there is lots of room for art. The galleries are well proportioned, nicely lit, and the installations are just lovely. And, thankfully, my favorite paintings are now back on view.

A few notes:

Enviable circulation: The museum now has a circulation system that most large art museums would envy. Galleries flow out from the original central axis and it is remarkably easy to find one's way around. This is the beauty of several large additions (Pei and now Foster) instead of the hodge-podge of many small ones.

Atrium at the end of the day. Typically, it is filled with people.
Counters on wheels!
An Italian square in the middle of the museum: The new atrium space is inviting, despite the Foster-chill of slate, steel, and glass. It is used as a cafe during public hours, and was packed full of people and had a little of the feel of an European public square. That's good for visitors and the bottom line, but the best part of it is that all of the serving counters are on wheels.  Everything is modular and can be unplugged and rolled away (or reorganized) for the major events the space was designed for. It is, again, like that Italian square that is a local market in the morning (fish, veggies, flowers), a cafe at lunch and dinner time (tables and chairs), and a night club late at night (leather sofas, yes really, dance music, and soft lighting). I'd love to see it used as a market, but suspect that is not in the plans.
Air return vent

Techy note: The return air plenums are in the four-foot thick walls between the galleries. Peering through the grates, one can see to the top and bottom of the building.  The thick walls provide a nice transition between the galleries, but also act as giant air handlers.  It would be interesting to know more about Foster's thinking behind the building's systems.

Long, empty, corridor.
Missed connection: The missed connection is a place on two of the upper levels of the new wing called "Making Connections." This is an art learning space where they have some computer interactives ("What Style is It?" kinds of things) and small, but interesting, exhibits about the curatorial process. Sadly, the space is as disconnected from the galleries as possible, on the far east end of the building, off of the window-walled, wrap-around corridor that encircles the end of the addition.  It is a lovely space with very few visitors because the circulation within the galleries is so logical. The Making Connections gallery is recessed at the center of this long wall, so it is not visible from either end. It feels like someone wanted this space as far away from the art as possible. Could they not have come up with a more organic way to integrate learning spaces without disrupting the quite wonderful aesthetic experience that is the museum's principal attraction?

1 comment:

Dr Purva Pius said...

Hello Everybody,
My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.


1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
2. Telephone Numbers:……….
3. Address and Location:…….
4. Amount in request………..
5. Repayment Period:………..
6. Purpose Of Loan………….
7. country…………………
8. phone…………………..
9. occupation………………
11.Monthly Income…………..

Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com