An April Afternoon at the MFA - Part 1
July 07, 2022
Back in April, I spent an afternoon at the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) here in Boston. I used to go to the museum once a week, but since having a baby and the age of COVID...well, I have not been a frequent visitor. So it felt good to roam around the familiar halls now stocked with different art in many cases. Mom and Steve came with me and we saw 3 notable things:
The short and skinny on the visit is:
- I am not a Turner fan.
- Art in Bloom was mixed -- some inspired arrangements and some that just didn't work for me.
- I loooooooved the Philip Guston Exhibit. I bought the exhibition catalog and I hope to go back for another visit before the exhibition closes in September.
I'm going to break the visit into three blog posts. Today you get Turner. Perhaps you're a bigger Turner fan than I am? I appreciate the artistry and the vision - a revolutionary in his time - but his work doesn't speak to me, personally.
A bit of background from the MFA's website:
A Radical Artist Confronts Changing Times
"One of Britain’s greatest artists, J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution, when steam replaced sail, machine power replaced manpower, and wars, political unrest, and social reforms transformed society. 'Turner’s Modern World' explores how this artist, more than any of his contemporaries, embraced these changes and developed an innovative painting style to better capture the new world."
The exhibit is huge, but I took only a few photos.
The work I liked the most was the stuff he created towards the end of his life. The MFA displayed that work in a bright white room -- very much what you'd see in a contemporary gallery.
If you're interested in learning more about J.M.W. Turner, YouTube is filled with videos about him. Here is one that I watched:
And there is a 2014 movie biopic called, Mr. Turner. Here's the trailer:
I believe you can rent the movie on Amazon Prime or Apple TV, but it doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere for free.
As always, I think it's important to learn about the artists who came before you. Even if you don't like their work, you can still appreciate the skill, the dedication, the point-of-view AND learn from it. In fact, I've often changed my mind about an artist after learning more about their process, their life, the context of their work, etc. I think one of the most important skills you can develop as an artist is having an open mind.
Thanks for stopping by!