Brooklyn Museum of Art vs. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Blind people crossing the bridge
Hakuin Ekaku

From the exhibition Zen Mind/Zen Brush: Japanese Ink Paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

To get ready for the fall season, I found out what is coming down the pike at two museums that have been really great to visit in the past year or so. Let the slugfest begin.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has four shows headlining their fall roster. The first is an exhibition of Assyrian art traveling from the British Museum. Yes, a slow start, but they follow that up with a look at the career of celebrity photographer Yousuf Karsh, who shot everyone from Albert Einstein to Audrey Hepburn to the Kennedys. The third act is a small show of Japanese ink paintings, which looks a lot more interesting than it sounds. Rachel Whiteread runs the last leg of the race. The last show of the season is devoted to her most recent work, Place (Village), which is an installation of handmade dollhouses.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art starts with an exhibition of four short films from Jesper Just. Their second show pulls together 40 works from the museum’s growing contemporary collection, specifically pieces that were made after 2000 and resonate with the museum’s rich ethnic and artistic locale. After that, the last stop of an international tour of the work of Gilbert & George arrives. This could be the sleeper, as there are 80 or so stellar works in this retrospective. The final exhibition brings together feminist works that comment on the “house”—whether the historically male-dominated museum or the home as the principal domain of women.

Put side by side like this, I’m torn about which venue comes out on top. And choosing a winner before actually seeing any of the shows is probably foolhardily premature. But I'm ready and willing to take bets.

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