The Gardner Museum Is Opening a New Sound Art Exhibit

It'll make you rethink the way you perceive sound.

Sound Art Gardner Museum

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In a new contemporary exhibit, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will make visitors think critically about how they hear and interpret sound through the exploration of sound art. 

“Listen Hear: The Art of Sound” will feature a total of 10 sound art installations—eight indoor and two off-site—that explore “different modes of listening in interior and exterior spaces. Different techniques delve into acoustic mapping and real-time projections of sound across urban spaces,” says curator Pieranna Cavalchini in a statement. “It’s an entirely new way of thinking about sound.”

The exhibit will include pieces from a dozen artists and architects with varying views on the perception of sound through mediums such as visual arts, landscape, and music. Various rooms throughout the museum will host eight of the pieces that reflect different aspects of sound found around the museum, imagined museum sounds, and sounds of the beloved interior Courtyard.

Additionally, beyond the walls of the museum visitors will be able to experience a GPS-based sound walk around the Back Bay Fens, embracing weather, water, birdsong, and spoken voice, as well as an acoustic sound corridor of urban sounds at the Ruggles MBTA Station.

If you visit the exhibit in the first week, you will also be able to participate in an interactive, community listening experience called “Sound Lab.” The installation will be located in the museum’s Calderwood Hall and was created in partnership with Elisa Hamilton and organizations in Roxbury and Mission Hill.

“Listen Hear: The Art of Sound” will be on view March 8 to September 5, 2017. For more information, visit

isabella stewart gardner museum horticulture 2 courtyard garden

Photo by Lloyd Mallison