Arts Roundup: Start of the Semester Edition!

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A roundup of some of the arts events on offer around Harvard this semester.

Whether you’re an eager-eyed freshman or a long-suffering senior, the start of another academic year at Harvard heralds all manner of academic and personal adventures. Even with the usual beginning-of-semester buzz of concentration requirements and extracurricular meetings, the freedom granted by shopping week and the add/drop period makes this the perfect time to get out into the wonderful world of the arts at Harvard! Your Harvard tuition implicitly offers you access to a wealth of riches in the arts, from long-standing Harvard institutions such as the Harvard Arts Museums to the huge variety of other artistic experiences all over the campus and Boston. And as befitting a newspaper so dedicated to the arts as The Harvard Independent, below is a list of some of the artistic highlights on offer at Harvard.

 Harvard’s Museums: Late nights and early history!

Harvard’s many museums offer a wide variety of fascinating and rare artifacts that span almost the whole of the history and geography of art from the Stone Age onward. Whether your interests are the natural sciences, history, or the traditional fine arts, Harvard almost certainly has some object d’art or collection for you – and now is the perfect time to explore these fantastic museum spaces!

Harvard Student Late Night (September 8th, 8-10 PM, Harvard Art Museums): With Austronesian-inspired small bites inspired by the Aboriginal art of the Harvard Art Museum’s “Everywhen” exhibition on indigenous Australian culture, live music, and all manner of raffle prizes and open galleries to sample, the Harvard Student Late Night at the Harvard Art Museums promises a fulfilling and cultured night out for any student interested in the arts. From Roman coins to Colonial portraits to Impressionism and beyond, the Harvard Art Museums offer a valuable panoply of artistic works and objects that the Harvard Student Late Night will only make all the more accessible.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography (open 9 AM – 5 PM, free for students): Adjoining its sister institution the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum offers several fascinating exhibits this fall in addition to its longstanding collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts. For those of you planning an impromptu visit, check out the Peabody Museum exhibition “In Fine Feather: Selected Featherwork from Peabody Collections”. Featuring a world-wide collection of feathered jewelry, masks, and other artistic objects, this collection’s availability to the public ends September 11th, 2016 – fly in soon if you want to catch a look! If you can’t make the featherwork exhibit, the Peabody museum’s fine collections of unique pottery, Native American artifacts, and exhibitions on the archaeological significance of Colonial Harvard all offer an excellent view into the artistic past of Harvard and the world at large.

Harvard Semitic Museum (10 AM to 4 PM Monday-Friday, 1-4 PM Sundays, free): Focusing specifically on the art of Semitic-language cultures such as Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Tunisia, the Harvard Semitic Museum offers an Indiana-Jones-Style treasure-trove of Semitic pieces. From recreation Egyptian thrones to ancient Mesopotamian casts and monuments to full-scale replicas of ancient Israeli dwellings, the Harvard Semitic Museum transports its visitors back to the Iron Age and beyond in its exhibits and collections.

Museum of Fine Arts: Get out there while you have the time!

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is one of the premier art museums in the United States, and has many new and exciting exhibits on offer this fall – check them out before the tide of psets and response papers rushes in! In addition to the MFA’s fantastic collections, all manner of special events and classes make that trip out of the Harvard bubble well worth it – and with the free admission for undergraduates offered by the MFA’s University Membership Program, such a trip becomes all the more worthwhile! Here are just a few of the more fleeting exhibits that you should catch before they go!

Year of the Monkey (April 30th to October 10th, 2016): 2016 marks the year of the Monkey in the East Asian calendar, and to this end the Japanese Print Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts is currently offering a curated selection of prints, postcards, and images spanning much of Japan’s pre-modern and modern history. From Meiji-era color prints to the Monkey King Son Goku (of Dragon Ball fame). If you have any interest in the fantastic delicacy of Japanese print-work (or in monkeys in art), this is the exhibit for you – and it closes in a month!

London and Edo: Cities on the Rise (April 3rd to October 23rd, 2016): The Harvard bubble aside, cities naturally loom large in our consciousness as students at a college near a major metropolitan area. In recognition of its own role as a major urban arts museum, the Museum of Fine Arts is now presenting a fine series of prints covering the development of the great megacities London and Edo (now Tokyo). Featuring great Western and Eastern printmakers such as Hiroshige, Pugin, Ackermann, and Rowlandson, this exhibit at the MFA charts the first seeds of the fascinating transformation of London and Edo into the modern megacities of today.

All of this inspiring and thought-provoking art that surrounds us at school could be just as much a part of our education as the classes are – we just have to take advantage of it!

Andrew Lin ’17 ([email protected]) is fascinated with the delicacy and finesse of fine print-work.