The new, highly anticipated MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) opened on Saturday and it’s Boston’s only free contemporary art museum.
Located at 621 Huntington Ave., MAAM is an open to the public non-collecting art museum, hosting temporary exhibitions of both emerging and established artists.
Executive Director Lisa Tung says that one of the museum’s goals is to “spark additional dialogue” about the work on display and related topics.
Internationally renowned Joana Vasconcelos, known for her feminist sculptural work, unveiled her first United States solo exhibition at the museum, showcasing her ‘Valkyrie Mumbet,’ which pays tribute to Elizabeth MumBet Freeman. Freeman was a slave who won her freedom in a legal battle in 1781 based on a line in the Massachusetts Constitution Bill of Rights which states “all men are born free and equal.”
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Vasconcelos’ piece is a massive art installation on the top floor of the gallery. It was specifically created for this exhibit at MAAM.
Artists Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, the collective behind “Ghost of a Dream,” took 30 years of exhibition catalogs from the MassArt archive, cut them up and transformed the lobby walls into a kaleidoscopic blast of color and design with their new piece “Yesterday is Here.” The goal of the piece is to create a relationship between MassArt’s past and looking forward to the new future of the museum.
After exploring Ghost of a Dream’s colorful wall designs in the lobby, visitors can enter the Game Changers: Video Games & Contemporary Art exhibit, located through glass doors when you first enter the museum. The artists from around the world -- Paloma Dawkins, Cao Fei, Tracy Fullerton, Dan Hernandez, Nyamakop, Juan Obando, Momo Pixel, Skawennati and Brent Watanabe – use technology, virtual reality, and gaming to spark dialogue about under-explored topics.
Notable games include Tracy Fullerton’s ‘Walden’ which is a game about slowing down and enjoying nature through the eyes of American poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Momo Pixel’s ‘Momoland’ and ‘Hair Nah!’ video game experience exploring pop art, social commentary and black identity and MassArt Professor Juan Obando’s soccer game which focuses on the art of hacking and inserting the Zapatista Army of National Liberation of Mexico into the game.
The museum is open Wednesday-Friday from 12 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to the temporary artist exhibition, MAAM plans to host workshops, events and to stay open from 12 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays to allow visitors to draw in the galleries – they'll provide the materials for free.