Sunday, October 08, 2006

McMullen Museum of Art

Several decades ago many of the major museums in Boston and New York City were free. In the last few years entrance fees have been skyrocketing with the Museum of Modern Art in NYC setting the bar even higher with a $20 entrance fee. Many major Boston Museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts , the Museum of Science , and the New England Aquarium now charge $15 or more. Yet the McMullen Museum at Boston College features some excellent exhibits and is still free! Past exhibits have included Caravaggio, Edvard Munch, and Jewish Women and their Salons. It is less than a ten minute walk from the terminus of the B Green Line T.

The current exhibit made my jaw drop and I remained astounded for the next hour. Cosmophilia: Islamic Art from the David Collection, Copenhagen, is a truly astounding exhibit. Luckily for Boston College, and the University of Chicago where the exhibit will travel next, the building that houses The David Collection is undergoing a year long renovation. The Danish Museum allowed The McMullen to pick and chose from their large collection for display in Boston. The result is an amazing diversity of mediums, styles, and textures, but all of the work is beautiful and of tremendous workmanship.

Glass, wood, ivory, silver, gold, parchment, ceramics, leather, silk, the list of materials used is so extensive. Representations of people, animals, floral motifs, geometric designs, and of course calligraphy abound with a section of hybrids of more than one style. The Sackler Museum at Harvard often has outstanding exhibits of Islamic Arts such as the recent drawings in the Tablet and the Pen, but I have never seen such a diverse exhibit there. The McMullen has it all from a giant carpet to a small vessel for spreading rosewater. Islamic Art has never been a favorite of mine, but this exhibit is a must see.


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