The sensational Institute of Contemporary Art show of work by Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson, Mark Morrisroe, and other artists who all attended art school in Boston in the late '70s and early '80s, and turned their lives into lovely, lurid photographs.
It should come as no surprise that the wine list at Meritage is outstanding. The entire concept of the restaurant is, after all, about pairing food and wine. After 15 years as executive chef of the dining rooms at the Boston Harbor Hotel and of its annual Boston Wine Festival, Daniel Bruce is now cooking for a wine-first audience. The menus at Meritage lead off not with first courses, but a selection of wine styles—sparkling, light, full-bodied, and so on—that are then paired with an appropriate dish. Such a system demands a wine list that's substantial, varied, and reasonably priced, and sommelier Jamie Moore has seen to it that this one is. Moore changes the 850-choice list every two weeks to make room for more bottles of special but recognizable Rhone varietals like Cline, Côtes d'Oakley, or rare gems such as an Aile d'Argent, Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux, or the heaven-on-earth elixir 1990 Château d'Yquem Lur-Saluces, Sauternes. The informed servers want you to enjoy the wine as much as they clearly do, and manage to explain the options in plain English. Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA meritagetherestaurant.com/.
If you want a piece of jewelry with a rich history, it only makes sense to buy it from a dealer with a storied past. E.B. Horn opened its doors in 1839 and remains one of the region’s largest buyers of estate pieces. Browse a highly curated selection of unique bling, such as a platinum, sapphire, and diamond bracelet from the art deco era and a 14-karat-gold art nouveau pin. During one visit, gemologist Doug Finn even showed us an antique locket with the pictures still inside. 429 Washington St., Boston, MA 02108, ebhorn.com.
This Harvard Square spot was designed for experimentation, and that's exactly what the American Repertory Theatre is doing with its flexible, intimate new venue. The unadorned black-box design allows the theater and actors to adapt to any performance, while the ART's planned collaborations with other local cultural groups, such as World Music and PEN New England, promise a steady flow of interesting productions. Zero Arrow St., Cambridge, MA americanrepertorytheater.org/venue/zero-arrow.
At $19 to $24.50, the tickets are pricey. But admission to the Dedham theater's Lux Level includes many worthy indulgences: state-of-the-art digital projection, plush seats, free garage parking, food and beverage service, attentive waitstaff, and—hallelujah—a 21-plus admissions policy. You won't find a lot of (okay, any) art-house or indie films, but for mainstream fare, Cinema De Lux is a treat so addictive it could easily become habit. 670 Legacy Pl., Dedham, MA 2026, nationalamusements.com.
Every wedding has its own unique story. And Lisa Rigby, with backgrounds in professional writing and art history, knows just how to tell it. Her work has a cinematic quality that transcends traditional documentary-style photography, capturing expressions full of emotion and maximizing the scenery, whether it's your parents' lush backyard or the Museum of Fine Arts at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve. lisarigbyphotography.com.
If you're investing in a three-months'-income heirloom, you want to work with someone who understands your vision—and your budget. Cynthia Pischdotchian ditched an engineering career to pursue her bejeweled dreams and bring precision to a timeless art form. Today she works out of a Gothically appointed Newbury Street studio, designing one-of-a-kind jewelry both modern and art deco-inspired. She'll also repurpose existing pieces, transforming Grandmother's diamond clip-ons into your newest wardrobe staple. 45 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, cynthiabritt.com.
Collectors know that the best way to score something both reasonably priced and unusual is to skip the boutiques and go a-paddling at Skinner. The company’s many themed auctions (Persian rugs, art, rare books, midcentury modern) allow buyers to bid on everything from nearly priceless works of art to common Victorian armoires. Hunters without a specific agenda should attend Skinner’s eclectic Discovery Auctions, held every month at the Marlborough location. 63 Park Plaza, Boston; and 274 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, skinnerinc.com.
Shed some light on the subject at this small Cambridge shop, which carries an impressive selection of unique fixtures made from 1850 to 1950. Best represented are ceiling and wall pieces. Prize finds: Art Deco chandeliers, alabaster bowl hanging lights, and Arts and Crafts-style sconces. Everything sold here can be rewired and original finishes can be restored with attention to detail. 2226 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA citylights.nu.
A mix of traditional crafts, whimsy, and fine arts endows the Cambridge Artists' Cooperative with unusual charms. On a magical mystery tour of its three floors, you'll find everything from blown-glass hummingbird feeders to pine-needle baskets to wearable art, with prices from $7 to $2,000. And you'll understand why craftspeople themselves voted the store one of the Top Ten Retailers of American Craft. 59A Church St., Cambridge, MA .
The Cuban-born Morrell, who teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art, actually had two exhibitions this year (at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) showcasing his silvery photographs of sublime landscapes, his shots of mysterious old books and maps, and strangely beautiful double-images he made with a pinhole camera. The Morrell of the story: This magical-realist artist is the real goods.
Grand master Jae Hun Kim, whose approach emphasizes form over flash, teaches alongside a cadre of experienced instructors with a knack for keeping kids as young as four focused and engaged. 102 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, tkd-boston.com.
Just when you thought fitness fads had reached their zenith, Helena and Brian Collins turned the notion of working out on its head. Forget long lines for treadmills, aerobic Amazons, and nightclub noise: Synergistics is a calm haven where trainers work one-on-one with clients. The Collins' approach to fitness uses sculpting, balancing, and strengthening programs in addition to Pilates, target eight training, and martial arts techniques. Brian is trained in the art of Huo Tuo Tui-Na, a massage therapy thought to alleviate migraines, lower back pain, and stress-related health problems. 9 Newbury Street, Boston, MA lifeinsynergy.com/.
Don't let the name fool you: This Brockton institution isn't a musty warehouse of old quilts and wooden shoes. It's instead a showcase for contemporary handmade objets d'art, a place where sublime ceramics made at East Cambridge's Clay Dragon Studios sit beside burnished-aluminum mobiles inspired by the myth of Icarus. Later this year, the museum will unveil an intricate, kaleidoscopic survey of enamel art from the 1920s to the present day, and, most eye-catching of all, artist Stan Munro's massive replicas of such architectural wonders as the Taj Mahal and the White House—rendered entirely in toothpicks. 455 Oak St., Brockton, MA 02301, fullercraft.org.
Given that his typical canvas is at least a couple of stories tall, it’s hard to miss Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs’s powerful work. The Lower Roxbury native—whose relationship with street art stretches back to his days tagging buildings as a kid—is the force behind the city’s Breathe Life murals, galaxy-inspired celebrations of Black youthhood. Now, as an MFA artist in residence, Gibbs is using his expertise to co-helm a project highlighting the influence of street art on contemporary culture. “My murals are mirrors,” Gibbs says. If that’s the case, we like what we see. problak.com.