Every Thursday, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen brings a new roundup of arts and culture happenings to Morning Edition. This week, take a detour out of Boston to explore some of New England's newest exhibitions.
"The Floating World: Japanese Prints from the Bancroft Collection"
On view at the Worcester Art Museum through March 5
Out in Worcester, “The Floating World” is an exhibit coming from the museum’s Bancroft Collection. It features works from Japan’s Edo period, which were collected as early as the mid-1800s, a time where woodblock prints had gained popularity in the country ahead of a global surge in interest. The art on display at the Worcester Art Museum reflects an evolution into bold colorwork and detail; as Bowen explains, “the Edo period meant stability and peace and culture— this was a time of everything coming together in this vibrancy in life.”
Among the featured artists is Katsushika Hokusai, whose piece “The Great Wave” is universally recognizable and inspired everything from the work of Monetand Frank Lloyd Wright to iPhone emojis. Bosen says Hokusai’s work, as with much of the exhibit’s other prints, evokes images of “something you aspire to, a place you want to be, something that’s almost transcendent for you. And this is why it was so popular” in the 19th-century and into today.
"Sargent, Whistler, & Veneitian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano"
On view at the Mystic Seaport Museum through Feb 27
Take a trip through Venice by way of Connecticut with this exhibit at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Murano and Venice— now world-renowned for its glass production — experienced a massive reputation overhaul in the 1800s when the likes of John Ruskin, James McNeill Whistler, and John Singer Sargent took inspiration from the region’s history of glass production. Known for bringing pieces home from her journeys to Venice, local art enthusiast and museum namesake Isabella Stewart Gardner was also drawn to Murano.
Bowen says that this exhibit “combines these paintings and works of art with the actual glassmaking, stuff that began working its way into collectors homes” in the United States. Bringing together these disparate time periods and artistic styles, the Mystic Seaport Museum also incorporates the work of contemporary Venetian glassmakers into the exhibit, allowing visitors to see how the tradition has persisted.