Massachusetts museum scene amps up for 2023

We’ve gone back to the movies. We’ve returned to concert venues from clubs to the TD Garden. We’ve started seeing Broadway musicals and ballet again. But what about museums?

Hit as hard as any arm of the arts, visual and fine arts nearly disappeared from view during the height of the pandemic. Thankfully our world-class museums have come roaring back. Make a 2023 resolution to let some art into your heart, and maybe start with a fashion show, images of Chinese folktales or one an exhibit from the most important American artists of the ’60s and ’70s.

“Climate Action: Inspiring Change,” now through June 25, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem

Millions of Americans worry about our changing climate. They also worry about how to begin to take action. This PEM exhibit binds the power of creativity, science and participation to explore solutions and spark engagement. The majority of the 29 artists in the exhibit call New England home including nine youth artists.

“Otherworldly Realms of Wu Junyong,” opens Jan. 13, Museum of Fine Arts

Wu Junyong peeks into strange worlds in this exhibition. The Chinese artist makes his U.S. museum debut with a collection of mixed-media works on paper that explore wild, wondrous beasts competing for dominance, legendary heroes battling infamous enemies, and haunted spirits searching for salvation. Inspired by China’s folktales, European paintings and Greek mythology, Wu creates works full of joyous colors and dark, hidden spaces.

“My Mothers,” open Jan. 26, MassArt Art Museum

Bostonian May Stevens was a giant of contemporary art who used her work to attack capitalism, racism and the American patriarchy – see her “Big Daddy” series of the ’60s and ’70s. In “My Mothers,” Stevens puts her birth mother Alice Dick Stevens beside her “spiritual mother,” Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. The always-free MassArt Art Museum calls these works “tender explorations of both public and personal struggles; celebrations of revolution and public life; and demonstrations of the mundane and overlooked aging process.”

“Taylor Davis Selects: Invisible Ground of Sympathy,” opens Jan. 31, Institute of Contemporary Art

The Boston-based Taylor Davis is the first artist to curate an exhibition from the ICA’s collection. What she pulls together in “Invisible Ground of Sympathy” features many pieces never-before displayed by the museum. Works by Lynda Benglis, Mona Hatoum, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe and more run parallel to Davis’ own art – sculptures, paintings, and collages that map connections between art and audience.

Francoise Grossen’s “Inchworm,” part of “Taylor Davis Selects: Invisible Ground of Sympathy,” opening Jan. 31 at the Institute of Contemporary Art. (Photo courtesy ICA)

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