Winter Arts Preview: Upcoming Exhibits in Boston

mickalene thomasArtwork by Mickalene Thomas. (Image via kkaza on Instagram)

While we have yet to see much snowfall (and let’s not jinx it, shall we?), winter is upon us. When you are not spending your weekends on the ski slopes or skating on Frog Pond this season, you might just find yourself in search of a cultured indoor pastime. Check out the following selection of upcoming or existing art exhibits around the city.



Ever wondered what types of masterpieces could be made from Chinese lacquer? Perhaps not, but it may surprise you to learn that it has been used for more than 2,000 years, was a luxury good owned by the elite, and was made into various ornate objects, from incense boxes to birdcages to furniture. This striking collection, on display until September of next year, highlights Chinese and Ryukyu island lacquer creations from 1200-1800.

Until Sept. 2013, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave.,


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

If you haven’t had a chance yet to take in the contemporary art exhibit Raqs Media Collective: The Great Bare Mat & Constellation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, do so this month or next before it ends on January 7. Located in the Hostetter Gallery, the exhibit features an intricate carpet woven by Bulgarian weavers, as well as a video projection that highlights narrative metal surfaces, sparking images in the viewers’ minds. On December 8, attend the program “Why Does Music Move Us?” as part of the exhibition, and listen to four speakers discuss the importance of music’s existence.

Exhibit until Jan. 7, 2013; program on Dec. 8, 1 p.m., $5-15 tickets, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway,


On December 12, head to the Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Gallery at the ICA and indulge in some of Mickalene Thomas’s colorful painted creations that—decorated with rhinestones—portray “female sexuality, beauty, and power” with African American women as her subjects. Elsewhere, check out Iceland native Ragnar Kjartansson’s Song, an exhibition that incorporates performances and videos through which he intends to pose questions about myth, culture, and identity among viewers.

Both exhibits open Dec. 12-April 7, Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave.,

Mary Baker Eddy Library

For those seeking an artsy, family-oriented New Year’s Eve, The Mary Baker Eddy Library will be holding activities like arts and crafts, interactive museum exhibits (try walking through the famous Mapparium), face painting, and live performances from three local music groups: The Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band, Odaiko New England, and Back Bay Ringers.

Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., The Mary Baker Eddy Library, 200 Massachusetts Ave.,

Boston Public Library

Whether you are a fan of the MBTA or not, the “An Elevated View: The Orange Line” display at the Boston Public Library is worth a visit. It serves as a bit of a city history lesson, bringing viewers back to the mid-'80s when T changes were in the works. When the Orange Line was relocated, URBANARTS began “Arts in Transit,” a project that allowed photography students to shadow professionals as they snapped images of the process and the surrounding environment. The exhibit features 65 of these remarkable photos.

Until Jan. 19, Boston Public Library, Wiggin Gallery, 700 Boylston St.,