Dinorá Justice: The Lay of the Land
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. November 18, 2023 - April 14, 2024

Exhibition webpage here

WBUR, Newton-based artist puts feminist twist on “masterpieces”

Brazilian American artist Dinorá Justice (b. 1969) uses a distinct visual vocabulary to examine intertwined histories of gender, landscape, and visual culture. In her paintings, feminine figures, lush natural environments, and rich marbled patterns subtly reframe art historical “masterpieces” with care and attention, recognizing their merits and, at the same time, rejecting their tendency to cast feminine figures as symbols of colonized territory for the male eye. Her sculptures riff on ancient figurines that once celebrated cycles of life.

In her painting Portrait 51, after Delacroix’s “Women of Algiers” (2021), the artist unifies anonymous female subjects by placing them in interdependent dialogue with their outdoor setting. Linking women figures directly to the natural world is a common theme throughout Justice’s work. While this connection is often idealized and romanticized in art historical contexts, the reality is grimmer—violence against women and the environment is rampant. Luring viewers with vibrancy, Justice’s works awaken attention and shift perspectives not just on art history, but on how we care for one another and the world around us.

Tender Loving Care: Contemporary Art from the Collection
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. July 22, 2023 - January 28, 2025

Exhibition webpage here

At their core, creating and looking at works of art are acts of care, from the artist’s labor to the viewer’s contemplation and appreciation. Storage, conservation, and display are also ways of tending to art. This exhibition invites visitors to explore how contemporary artists trace and address concepts of care through their materials, subjects, ideas, and processes.

More than 100 works from the MFA’s collection—including recent acquisitions and objects that have never been on view before—define, depict, and demonstrate many forms of care through five thematic groupings: threads, thresholds, rest, vibrant matter, and adoration. Gisela Charfauros McDaniel’s portrait of her mother, Tiningo’ si Sirena (2021), moves between intimacy and an attentiveness to larger concepts that are meaningful to the artist, like cultural inheritances and ecological interconnectivity. For his Sound Suit (2008), Nick Cave extended the lifespan of discarded objects by transforming them into a surreal, otherworldly costume that asserts the value of Black life. The intensive time and labor that goes into creating textiles and fiber art is evident in examples by Sheila Hicks, Howardena Pindell, and Jane Sauer. Through these works and many others visitors can consider how different forms of care may inspire new models for living and feeling—now and in the future.

Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births

Mütter Museum, Philadelphia. May 8, 2021 – April 30, 2022
Center for Architecture and Design, Philadelphia. Sept 10 – Nov 14, 2021
Mass Art Museum (MAAM), Boston. June 11 – December 18, 2022
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Seattle. February 14 - December 30, 2023
ArkDes, The Swedish National Museum of Architecture and Design, Stockholm, Sweden. September 27, 2024 – August 31, 2025
Fifth and sixth venues to be announced in late 2024

Selected press:

The New York Times, Menstrual Cups in Museums? It’s Time.

The Guardian, Designing Motherhood: project puts objects shaped by maternity in focus

Vogue, A New Exhibition in Philadelphia Examines the Hidden Histories of Reproduction

The Washington Post, The Lily, Forceps, breast pumps, IUDs: This exhibit puts motherhood on display

Smithsonian Magazine, Designing Motherhood

Fashion Studies Journal, book review

Designing Motherhood is an exhibition about how design has influenced human reproduction over the past 150 years to facilitate or prevent our arrival into the world.

The exhibition showcases nearly 300 items, both historical and contemporary, involved in the arc of human reproduction, ranging from menstrual cups, breast pumps, and baby monitors to medical tools and maternity clothing. It explores objects and processes through a variety of fields: art, photography, product design, posters, advertisements, fashion, and architecture, with a selection emerging from various cultural and geographical backgrounds.

While being born is a universal human experience, the designs that shape it are not. Designing Motherhood invites you to consider why and how we have developed designs to facilitate reproductive health, and to ponder the political, economic, and social implications of how we medicalize reproduction.

Body Awareness: Maria Lassnig’s Experimental Films

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. October 15, 2022 – April 2, 2023

Celebrating Maria Lassnig on Film (online here)

Late Nite with Maria Lassnig

Although best known as a painter, Maria Lassnig (1919–2014) began to experiment with film in 1970. From that point on, she created animations using felt-tip pen drawings, stencils, spray paint, and collaged magazine cutouts as well as live-action scenes featuring protagonists and settings drawn from friends and everyday encounters. In one way or another, all of Lassnig’s films investigate what the artist termed “body awareness,” an ambitious artistic desire to express the complex and often slippery subjective qualities of internal sensory experience and self-perception.

This exhibition celebrates Lassnig’s pioneering work on film, featuring 16 pieces that explore physical sensation, autobiography, friendship, and New York City, where the artist lived in the 1970s. Reproductions of ephemera—texts and images from the Maria Lassnig Foundation in Vienna, Austria—give visitors a glimpse into the artist’s practice and document the evolution of her ideas. With candid and unsparing interrogations of identity that eschew the contemporary fascination with spectacular imagery, Lassnig’s films remain strongly relevant to—and an antidotal critique of—art and life today.
Helina Metaferia: Generations

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. November 6, 2021 – April 11, 2022

Selected press:

Artsy, Helina Metaferia Honors the Activist Legacies of Black Women across Collage and Performance

SurfaceA Regal Headdress Comes Alive With Relics of BIPOC Activism

Interior Design, Artist Helina Metaferia Celebrates Black Women Activists in Two Solo Shows

Boston Globe, In Helina Metaferia’s show at the MFA, an ‘army of women’ wear history on their heads

The family and community that precede us shape how we see the world today. From pride in identity to the effects of suffering across generations and the desire to imagine better futures, how do we process the memories and experiences we inherit?

Centering women of color as protagonists, “Helina Metaferia: Generations” uses collage, video, and installation to explore how inherited trauma informs present-day experiences. Metaferia mines oral histories and institutional archives of Black liberation ephemera to point toward ways in which activists—especially women of color—can profoundly influence the future, and always have. She respectfully involves these communities as collaborators in her art-making practice, asking them to share their “everyday revolutions”—the ways they navigate and negotiate a world that tries to put barriers in their way. Their responses manifest in different media, including collage and video, that explore how we carry on the legacies of our elders, the kinship we find in our contemporaries, and the many ways these relationships inform and shape our worlds.