An extended layover in Boston just to see the Museum of Fine Arts

On my way to Rockport, Maine I scheduled an extended layover in Boston so I could make a special trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. I wasn’t really going to see anything in particular; I love museums and the MFA is definitely a premier venue for viewing art. I visit their website often and am continually impressed with how the MFA is using digital and interactive media to include an audience outside of the museum walls. When I had the opportunity for my flight to connect in Boston, I took advantage and turned a usually dreadful layover into a long awaited museum excursion. So happy I did.

Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism

The piece, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007 by artist Josiah McElheny is without a doubt one of the most impactful sculptures I have seen. It is intriguing, hypnotizing and absolutely gorgeous, all at the same time. A silvery cube in the center of the gallery, it stands an approximate 7’ by 7’ and immediately causes you to turn your head when you enter. Drawn to its complexity and puzzlement, quite uncontrollably, you can’t move your eyes away. You can walk around all four sides of the piece and the soft light within illuminates infinite rows of delicate hand-blown glass vases, boxes, bottles, and decanters all finished with a mirrored surface. Part of the intrigue is that you can tell many mirrors are being used as part of the technique, yet none of the gallery walls or other museum patrons are being reflected. The reflective objects you see are behind a two-way mirror and are also being infinitely reflected by another mirror. It is a most perfect loop of complex introspection.

The artist was inspired by a conversation that took place in 1929 between sculptor Isamu Noguchi and designer/architect Buckminster Fuller in which they discussed the perfect utopian environment. They discussed that it would be a self-enclosed and totally reflective environment, one that is without shadow, and occupied only by totally reflective forms. McElheny is interested in how “the act of looking at a reflective object could be connected to the mental act of reflecting on an idea.”

Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism is part of the permanent collection and can be seen in the Richard and Nancy Lubin Gallery. This piece is amazing and definitely a highlight in the MFA’s collection.

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