Is Peabody Essex the most exciting Boston-area museum?
From my essay on the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem in this week’s Boston Phoenix:
Could the Peabody Essex Museum be the Boston area’s most exciting art museum right now? It’s a question nobody would have asked five or 10 years ago. But a string of excellent shows — in particular this past summer’s landmark Joseph Cornell retrospective, but also the current “Wedded Bliss” — has placed the Salem museum squarely in the same league as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and other top-rank museums around the country.Read the rest here.
The transition, which Boston is only beginning to recognize, has been some 15 years in the making, including a merger, a building expansion, more exhibitions, and increasingly ambitious shows. The Cornell show, Peabody Essex chief curator Lynda Roscoe Hartigan told me this past December, “really is about signaling, in as direct a way as we could think of, that we mean business about doing work in the modern- and contemporary-art arena.”
Pictured from top to bottom: The Peabody Essex's atrium; chief curator Lynda Roscoe Hartigan and director Dan Monroe.