11 Books and Exhibits for Your Spring 2017 Design Fix

Here’s where to go and what to read.


french phenomenon

Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Interior with an Etruscan Vase, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art; Gift of the Hanna Fund; © 2017 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York

French Phenomenon

From decorative pitchers and vases to African masks and textiles, the objects in Henri Matisse’s studio provided endless inspiration for the Fauve painter and sculptor. More than 30 of these eclectic treasures, many of which had never been publicly exhibited in the U.S., are on view alongside dozens of the artist’s works at the Museum of Fine Arts.

4/9–7/9, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.

From Tanja Hollander, Colin Dusenbury + Thaddeus Herrick, Los An

Courtesy of Mass Moca

Social Butterfly

Maine-based photographer Tanja Hollander examines the intersection of social media and personal relationships in a new exhibition at MASS MoCA. The show, which includes both photo and video components, features portraits of the shutterbug’s Facebook friends.

Opens 2/18, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111, massmoca.org.

objects of desire

Courtesy of Boston Sculptors Gallery, Untitled, by Marilu Swett, 2016, lead & mixed media, 15x10x10 feet

Objects of Desire

Marilu Swett presents her abstract installations, sculptures, and drawings in an exhibition at Boston Sculptors Gallery. Also on display: the wood-based art of Susan Lyman, who cites Cape Cod as her greatest muse.

3/1–4/2, 486 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-482-7781, bostonsculptors.com.

Steve McQueen

Academy Award winner Steve McQueen ponders the fluidity of life and death in his new video installation, Ashes, which makes its U.S. debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art this February.

2/15–7/9, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org.

Beverly Semmes

This March, Samsøn presents the inimitable work of Beverly Semmes, a New York–based multimedia artist best known for her large-scale textile installations and ceramics.

4/7–5/27, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-357-7177, samsonprojects.com.

Deborah Coolidge and Brooke Hammerle

Deborah Coolidge’s abstract drawings of trees share the limelight with Brooke Hammerle’s mesmerizing water photographs in a nature-inspired dual exhibition at Simmons’s Trustman Art Gallery.

4/18–5/22, 300 The Fenway, Boston, 617-521-2268, simmons.edu/trustman.


common thread

Courtesy of Koenig Books

Common Thread

In The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, editors Jane Alison and Sinéad McCarthy explore the concepts of style and taste through 500 years of garment design—not to mention interviews with such wunderkinds as Vivienne Westwood and Christian Dior.

Out 2/28, $65, Koenig Books.

ocean oases

Courtesy of Rizzoli

Ocean Oases

Featuring more than 100 color photographs, Nick Voulgaris’s new hardcover, The Seaside House: Living on the Water, dives deep into a handful of the world’s most luxurious oceanfront homes, some of which—such as Martha Stewart’s stunning Seal Harbor estate—are right here in New England.

Out 3/14, $55, Rizzoli.

Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes, By Antonia Edwards

Whether it’s a reservoir turned modern abode, a three-unit treehouse, or a studio made entirely of driftwood, creative design and nontraditional building materials take top billing in this new hardcover.

Out 4/3, $60, Prestel.

Winslow Homer: An American Vision, By Randall Griffin

Born in Boston and raised in Cambridge, Winslow Homer filled his canvases with scenes of daily life and dramatic seascapes. This text, published in paperback for the first time, chronicles his prolific career.

Out 5/7, $45, Phaidon Press.

Perfect French Country: Inspirational Interiors From Rural France, By Ros Byam Shaw

Feeling the need to unplug? See how the other half lives in Ros Byam Shaw’s new volume, which celebrates the casual elegance of France’s most rustic homes.

Out 4/4, $34, Ryland Peters & Small.