The Nature of Art

October 21, 2023 through April 14, 2024

Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887-1986, Grey Hills Painted Red, New Mexico (detail), 1930, Oil on canvas, Anonymous gift

As an encyclopedic museum, the MFA aims to examine the whole of human art production, and one of the most exciting possibilities of a collection that spans 5,000 years is the ability to explore big ideas across space, time, and geography. This allows us to see the commonalities of the human journey and contemplate how specific conditions produce unique works of art with a strong sense of place. The Nature of Art looks at the disparate ways humans have engaged in artistic expression to understand our environment, mediate our relationship with nature, and attain a more profound comprehension of our role within the world.

This exhibition is a celebration of the highest aspirations of humankind—our intellectual and creative activities that reflect and shape the world in which we live. Our mission is to preserve art objects in perpetuity. The pleasure and honor we have in doing so is our collective ability to “interpret” these objects and to use them as prompts to engage, educate, and excite our community.

The Nature of Art will bring together, for the first time, our special exhibition galleries in the Hough Wing with the MFA Collection galleries in the Volk Wing. The connected ideas generated from The Nature of Art will traverse throughout the MFA Campus, sparking conversations with works in the collection and allowing visitors to experience them through a new lens.

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.