Party Pics

Celebrating Hokusai’s Influence at the Museum of Fine Arts

Plus, dispatches from a music-and-arts benefit at Berklee Performance Center and the Prospero Society's reception at the Newbury Boston.

A curator between two artists—Taiko Chandler, Kendall DeBoer, and Judith Schaechter. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pop quiz.

Q: Where’s the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan?
A: The Museum of Fine Arts.

Accordingly, it was like a trip to Tokyo without the jetlag for members of the Museum Council and patrons when the MFA hosted a preview party for the opening of “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence.”

The exhibition of the Japanese master’s work (on view until July 16) attracted the likes of Alice’s Table creator Alice Lewis; Newton’s answer to Nick and Nora Charles, Nina and William Schroeder; the unfairly attractive Bill Neidlinger and Agnieszka Cieplinska; party pair Bonnie and Merle Berger; tech bigwig Will DeKrey and climate justice crusader Sean Garren; Newport nabob Tom Eberhardt; and one woman who, when asked if her husband was there, responded, “No, but you heard what happened?” The shocking answer was that he’d had a grisly accident.

On a lighter note, the evening began with introductory remarks in the Remis Auditorium from the show’s curators, Sarah Thompson and Kendall DeBoer, as well as museum head honcho Matthew Teitelbaum, who tantalized the audience by sharing that in the 1920s, two brothers, William and John Spaulding, donated more than 6,000 Japanese prints to the MFA’s collection with the bizarre stipulation that they never be displayed.

Cocktails and dinner followed in the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Guests were free to peruse the exhibit, which includes more than 300 works—one-third by Hokusai and two-thirds by artists he influenced, including Monet, Frankenthaler, Warhol, Kusama, and whoever created the movie poster for Demon Slayer, the highest-grossing film of 2020 and the last work in the show before you exit through the gift shop.

Overheard in the gallery as guests browsed the ocean-inspired artwork: “This whole thing is making me crave sushi.” Meanwhile, when asked, “How many children do you have?” a woman replied, “That depends on whether you’re counting my husband.”

Thai-Canadian artist Linda Sormin in front of her beguiling installation. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jumpei Mitsui’s Great Wave made from Legos. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Soigné social worker Anne Kilguss, striped-bass-master Eric Wilsterman and the lovely Sarah, and Janet Burke, who has an uncanny knack for matching her food with her outfit. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Audiobook product manager Zach Benjamin (left) with Uniqlo panjan-drum Jean-Emmanuel Shein (right) and engineering whiz Annabel Shein. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Sean Garren contemplating the exhibit. / Photo via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Saxophonist Gregory Groover Jr. gettin’ his groove on. / Photo by Eric Antoniou

Loud and Clear

The Hamilton-Garrett Music and Arts Academy in Roxbury hosted its annual Make Them Hear You benefit at Berklee Performance Center in the Back Bay. Grammy-winning headlining act Take 6 performed as the event paid tribute to honoree Patrice Rushen, the jazz pianist, vocalist, composer, and educator. Judging by the crowd, they could have taken 7 or 8.

Academy board member Gwen Clark and founder Elta Garrett, a longtime Boston Public Schools music teacher, twinning in fur coats. / Photo by Eric Antoniou

GBH jazz-show host Al Davis and his wife, Reinhild. / Photo by Eric Antoniou

Former Berklee president and philanthropist Roger Brown, musician and honoree Patrice Rushen, and academy executive director Gerami Groover-Flores. / Photo by Eric Antoniou

Actor Faran Tahir demonstrating his gesticulation talents. / Photo by Lies Clark Photo

All of Boston’s a Stage

The Prospero Society supports Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which has produced free shows on the Common for 25-plus years. They recently hosted a reception at the Newbury Boston, and Faran Tahir, who’s playing Macbeth in this summer’s production, flew in from the UAE, looking shockingly fresh for a guy filming three films on three continents.

Biologist Dagmar Sternad, Michael Almond, and theater director Bryn Boice. / Photo by Lies Clark Photo

Dennis Hong and Judah Hamer demonstrating their opposite tastes in wine. / Photo by Lies Clark Photo

Arts boosters Allison Ryder and David Jones. / Photo by Lies Clark Photo

Nancy Heselton and Jeff Clements looking fully entranced. / Photo by Lies Clark Photo

First published in the print edition of the June 2023 issue with the headline “Big in Japan.”