One of my favorite annual events at the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) here in Boston is their "Connoisseurship Night." Fellow & Patron members of the Museum Council are invited to attend two brief curatorial tours and then it's a seated dinner in one of the galleries. Each year the tours are different and you get to choose from a list of 6-7 different tours.
Like anything else -- there are popular choices and unpopular choices for tours. Everyone knows and loves Impressionism. I try to choose the less popular tours -- the things I've never heard of or have no interest in. Why? Well, I believe that that's how I get a more well rounded art education. Over the years I've been surprised and fascinated by snuff boxes, frames, and more! This year's two tours I chose were:
Making a Difference through Craft, Connoisseurship, and Collecting: Spotlight on the ceramics of Roberto Lugo and Michael Frimkess with Michelle Millar Fisher, Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts
‘Dressing the Torah: New Judaica Acquisitions’ with Simona Di Nepi, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica
I had never heard of either Roberto Lugo or Michael Frimkess and I must confess, I don't always find ceramics fascinating. However, this tour changed my mind. Michelle, the curator, told us all about the meaning behind the various decorations, as well as her future plans for this particular gallery -- a big change from its past.
It was really nice to see some art with a strong point-of-view in the craft gallery. For most of the years that I've visited the MFA, that gallery was either a gift shop or a gallery of purely decorative art. I think Michelle has some really exciting things planned for the future of that space and I'm looking forward to more visits!
Next up was the Judaica tour with Simona. I hadn't really thought of provenance when it comes to museums buying Judaica, but since she was showing us new acquisitions by the MFA, she explained that you absolutely *must* know where the pieces were between 1930 and 1945 for obvious reasons. For example, she shared a pair of German Torah Scroll Finials (not pictured). She told us that they had found a replacement bell in the finials stamped "London 1918" and since they bought the finials from a Synagogue in London, they felt confident that they had been in England at least since 1918. Therefore they felt comfortable buying them.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at my visit to the museum. I love getting out to see art!
Thanks for stopping by!