First time ever today at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Besides being lost in the labyrinth the entire time, I stumbled upon some wonder gems. The two photography exhibits could not have been more different from each other.
Nicholas Nixon is that guy who's been photographing his wife and her three sisters every year since 1975. The exhibit is intimate family work (his own), loving moments captured, somehow, on a 4x5.
Next discovery was the Richard Avedon fashion exhibit, a survey of his entire career. Technically stunning and totally controlled abstractions, emotionally remote and cold, the utter antipode to Nixon.
What's lovely about this museum is that photography is not confined to a curatorial ghetto somewhere in the basement. The shows are interspersed amid other galleries, and within period themes, say a room of etchings, will be an Alvin Langdon Coburn photogravure. In a room of modernists were Charles Sheeler and O'Keefe paintings with Ed Weston's Greatest Hits (Pepper 30 and Claris Nude) Paul Outerbridge studies, and Strand and Steiglitz portraits of their various female muses.
I wandered through the new American wing, which had some miniscule Bierstadts and Churches (I didn't know there were any), a folk art gallery and a wonderful room of Sargents that didn't make it to Seattle. I got lost in Europe and West Africa for a bit, traversed contemporary Japan, and landed in a museum store at the end of a cul de sac, and got directions back to the coatroom. After paying an obscene fee to get my car out of the garage, I'm now in New Hampshire for three days of dancing.