June 13, 2024


Life is art

Exploring the human design of motherhood at the MassArt Art Museum

This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen sits down with the Morning Edition team to bring you the latest exhibits from around Boston’s art museums.

Designing Motherhood

Now at the MassArt Art Museum through December 18

This free exhibit at the MassArt Art Museum is “an exceptionally timely thing to do this weekend,” according to Bowen. “Designing Motherhood” takes viewers through the history of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, driven by the fact that “this impacts all of us, we are all born,” as curator Michelle Millar Fisher explains. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this one act,” says Millar.

The exhibition’s curators hope that “Designing Motherhood” will challenge audiences’ understanding of human reproduction and what it means to be a mother at a time when so much of modern pregnancy resources come from “people without uteruses designing for people with uteruses,” says curator Michelle Miller Fisher. The works featured vary from photography to historical technologies to sculpture, including one artist’s rendition of their pregnant belly in wood.

Drawing the Curtain

Now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum through September 11

Maurice Sendak is perhaps most well-known for his work as an author and illustrator, namely for his 1963 children’s book Where The Wild Things Are. A new exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, however, presents a different facet of Sendak’s career: his work in set and costume design for the opera.

Sendak designed elements for not only an operatic adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are, but also Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, and The Nutcracker among others. As Bowen describes, the exhibit is “fun,” as “you walk in and you’re met with music, you’re met with actual sets and set pieces, and you can feel the 3D elements of his design.”

Curator Diana Greenwald says that “you get the sense that there are these little breadcrumbs of his identity showing up” in Sendak’s featured work. Sendak described himself “growing up as Jewish, gay, [and] chronically ill,” and many of his stories feature themes of strength, childhood resilience, and adventure — all of which are reflected in “Drawing the Curtain.”

Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ball
Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ball

Amanda Guerra/Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum,