Director's Message

With the dawn of a new academic year, it is my pleasure to invite students, faculty, and visitors from around the corner and around the world to the Harvard Art Museums this fall. With eclectic and dynamic new exhibitions and a full calendar of events to enhance your visit, we are excited to begin a new season. I hope that you will take the opportunity to experience all that we have to offer, even if it is just stopping by to enjoy a cup of coffee in the light-filled Calderwood Courtyard.

We’re particularly thrilled to share with you our new special exhibition, Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings, on view from September 7 through January 6, 2019. The exhibition showcases nearly 60 animal-shaped vessels that were once used in ancient ritual feasts and festivals, affording a rare glimpse into the rich symbolism of these gatherings. Thanks in part to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, visitors can enter the museums for free on Wednesday afternoons and first Saturdays during the run of the exhibition (see the calendar for specific dates). Please keep in mind that all students and Cambridge residents also enjoy free admission at any time. Continuing through January 6, Mutiny: Works by Géricault explores a range of powerful images by the Romantic period’s most influential and iconic artist, Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Approximately 40 drawings, watercolors, lithographs, and paintings from the Harvard Art Museums collections, augmented by loans from three Boston-area collectors, reflect the legacy of this socially and politically engaged artist and his timeless body of work in varied media.

We are also extending a warm welcome this fall to visiting contemporary artists Jace Clayton (a.k.a. DJ /rupture) and Teresita Fernández. A writer and artist based in Manhattan, Clayton creates interdisciplinary work that examines the interaction of sound, memory, and public space, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the Global South. His multimedia works include the free software suite “Sufi Plug-Ins” and the performance composition “Room 21.” Clayton will be mounting an upcoming installation in our Lightbox Gallery on Level 5 of the museums this fall. Born to Cuban immigrants in Miami, Teresita Fernández is best known for her large-scale public sculptures and innovative use of materials to engage and challenge viewers’ perceptions using light and space. Her exciting new site-specific work titled Autumn . . . (Nothing Personal), commissioned by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts (HUCA), takes its inspiration from a 1964 essay by James Baldwin and is on view in Harvard Yard. Also, just next door at the neighboring Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin’s America is a powerful exhibition of photographs made during Baldwin’s lifetime, curated by our own Makeda Best.

As the museums become part of an energized campus this fall, I hope you will plan a visit with friends and family to explore our exhibitions and collections galleries, attend an exhibition tour, gallery talk, workshop, or public lecture. We look forward to welcoming you!

Martha Tedeschi
Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director