This week, Jared Bowen takes us through the reopening of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and speaks with the artist behind the new Chinatown mural “Where We Belong.”

The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University has re-opened with two new special exhibitions

re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum
Beauford Delaney, Abstraction (Greene Street), 1950 Oil on canvas. 36 x 46 in. (91.44 x 116.84 cm) -.1050, Gift of Mr. Maurice Geller
Charles Mayer Photography, courtesy of the Rose Art Museum

The Rose Art Museum is one of the first university museums to reopen to the public. In the 18 months since the pandemic began and a racial reckoning has demanded accountability in the art world, the Rose Art Museum relaunches with what it says is a focus on “a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible museum.” Now on view are two new special exhibitions. “Re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum” highlights a diverse array of artists in a reexamination of the museum’s extensive 20th century holdings juxtaposed with the work of contemporary artists. And “Frida Kahlo: POSE” showcases a collection of paintings, photographs, rare footage and other ephemera from throughout Kahlo’s lifetime that illustrate the lengths and care to which the Mexican artist crafted her identity.

“I want people to come with open eyes, ready to experience new art,” says Museum Director Gannit Ankori, who took the helm last year, “to learn new things, to think about new connections and new ways, new genealogies that tell the story of art.”

“Where We Belong,” a new mural by Ponnapa Prakkamakul, is now on view in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood

Where We Belong
A boker stops to view Ponnapa Prakkamakul new mural "Where We Belong"
Katy Rogers

Boston’s Chinatown sports a new, 150-foot mural by artist Ponnapa Prakkamakul. A Thai artist and landscape architect, Prakkamakul sought input from the community and local businesses in creating the mural including a collaboration with youth from Asian Community Development Corporation’s (ACDC) A-VOYCE program. The work, titled “Where We Belong,” is site-specific and pays homage not only to the history and culture of the area, but also to the Ho Toy Noodle company which was a longtime occupant of the site at 79 Essex Street. The project was commissioned by Oxford Properties Group in partnership with Asian Community Development Corporation.

“I've learned that people feel attached to the old [Ho Toy Noodle] sign as a landmark,” says Prakkamakul, “so I'm also trying to bring that back to the building.”

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