Bored of the MFA?

by Marianne Farrell

Photography courtesy of Wendy Xie

We have truly been blessed with the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Harvard Art Museums right in our backyards. For those fine art aficionados, though, you might be wondering about the world outside of the big, and often touristy, Boston art museums. Boston may house some of the greatest art museums in the country, but the city also contains some pretty interesting galleries, exhibits and small museums that can definitely expand any art lovers palette.

Andrea Giunta on Radical Women

On April 2, Andrea Giunta—Professor of Latin American and International Art at the Universidad de Buenos Aires—will present the exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1965. This exhibit will feature works from artists such as Lygia Clark, Ana Mendieta and Feliza Bursztyn, and over 260 works in photography, videography and other mediums. Giunta put this exhibit together to show that this era of art has gone largely unnoticed for many years even though these pieces have been pivotal in the development of contemporary art in Latin America and the world. This exhibit has already been shown at the old Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City this summer. You can catch this interesting and powerful art exhibit at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in Cambridge.

The West End Museum

When thinking of Boston, many neighborhoods will pop up in your head, ranging from Allston to Back Bay to the South End. One doesn’t often think of the West End of Boston, simply because most of the neighborhood was torn down during the Urban Renewal campaign of 1958. The West End Museum is trying to change that, however, to remind people about the importance of this seemingly lost part of the city. This small historical museum is a great spot for any history buff and has dedicated itself to preserving and interpreting the history and culture of the West End of Boston. Recent exhibits include: Beneath the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord; From Stagecoach to Subway: The West End Street Subway; The Last Tenement.

The Aviary

Most people have probably never heard of this tiny and unassuming gallery in Jamaica Plain. While this may not be a vast gallery, Lindsay Metivier, the founder of the Aviary, wanted to make a safe space where new artists could display their work. The most recent exhibition at the Aviary—Natural Selection—focuses on the artists’ experiences in the natural world and their responses. Not only does this gallery house some of Boston’s newbie artists, they even sell books, jewelry and crafts as well as host concerts, embroidery workshops and yoga classes.

Museum of the Modern Renaissance

This invite-only museum was created by Russian expatriates Katrina Sorokina and Nicholas Shaplyko. Inside the old Masonic hall, all the artwork has been created by Sorokina and Shaplyko in an attempt to bring people through a mystical journey while honing in on the power of healing. This museum was also the original birthplace of the philosophy of Yoga in the United States. For those addicted to all things horoscope, this museum contains a gallery dedicated to the Zodiacs, along with Tribute to the Homeland, chock-full of images depicting Russia, Garden Tapestry, Cosmic Flowers and many more that will lead viewers to self-realization. The Museum of the Modern Renaissance is located in nearby Somerville and is the perfect place for those willing to stretch their minds and embrace the human spirit.

Boston has been the epicenter of some truly great artwork and exhibitions over the years. While it may be a little intimidating to step outside of the comfort zone of the museums many people typically go to, there are just so many other amazing, unique places to see and experience in Boston. So head on over to any of these unusual places today to support some truly incredible local art.