Photo By Peter Vanderwarker
The long-awaited, six-years-in-the-making jigsaw puzzle marriage of the Fogg (Western art), the Sackler (Asian, Islamic, and Ancient), and the Busch-Reisinger (Germanic), opens to the public today, Sunday 11.16, as the Harvard Art Museums with complimentary admission extending through Tuesday. If your schedule doesn’t align with the opening celebration freebies, there are still a couple of ways for your shoes to be among the first to scuff the floors on the cheap. So, if you’re interested in how to tap into the 250,000-work collection representing global art from antiquity to modernity—ranging from Chinese jade to Vincent van Gogh’s self portrait to Gauguin, a handful of O’Keefe’s to the subversive video installations of Ai Weiwei—listen up.
If you’re a Massachusetts resident who happens to be up before noon on a Saturday, head to HAM (not nearly as elegant an acronym as PEM or MoMA if you ask us) between 10am and 12pm for complimentary admission. If you’re paying tuition at Harvard, teaching at Harvard, or gainfully employed as a janitor but also secretly a whiz mathematician, you can get in for free with a plus-one, so take a friend if you fall into one of the above categories. Otherwise, get your hands on a pair of Crimson cheeks and enjoy the perks. Cambridge residents and anyone 18 and under also get in free anytime, although they don’t have the option of bringing a friend. Non-Harvard students pay $10, 65+ pay $13, and the rest of you are shit out of luck and need to fork over the full $15.
But with the newly polished facilities, an architectural feat designed by Renzo Piano in which he conjoined, renovated, and expanded the three existing buildings, a new public access piazza-inspired courtyard has emerged, with an entrance by way of the old Fogg entrance on Quincy Street, or at the new entrance on Prescott Street. While this may sound a bit like we’re suggesting you go to the mall, steer clear of the stores, and loiter in the atrium, rest assured the area is outfitted with more than just bathrooms. The public space extends into a cafe, as well as the ground and lower museum levels, and features a number of contemporary works, including the aforementioned Weiwei piece, and Rebecca Horn’s Flying Books Under Black Rain Painting. The Calderwood Courtyard is a sight to see in and of itself: Bordered by glass arcades extending three flours and capped with a glass ceiling, the sunlit nook aims to be a retreat, much in the way the Boston Public Library’s courtyard acts as a serene escape from bustling Copley square.
HARVARD ART MUSEUMS | OPEN DAILY FROM 10AM-5PM, OPENING DAY OPEN TIL 10 PM | HARVARDARTMUSEUMS.ORG