I was in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston a few days ago. We mostly went
for the Ansel Adams exhibit (obwood: lots of tree pictures), but also saw a
few things that might be of interest to readers of this group, so I figured
I mention them.
1) Chinese Furniture exhibit. Mostly wood. Tables, beds, chairs, chests,
etc. Really beautiful work, this should be of interest to anybody who's
into wooden furniture. There's a small hands-on exhibit of chinese
joinery. I was playing with a combination mitre-tenon joint that I could
barely understand even after I took it apart and put it back together again
a few times. Many of the pieces are designed to be assembled with no
fasteners of any kind, and knock down into their component parts for easy
transport. Amazing stuff.
It's interesting to contrast the European wooden furniture (which the
museum also has) with the Chinese of similar periods. The Europeans used
the wood just as a base material, and piled on paint, fabrics, gilt, etc.
The Chinese seem to be much more into letting the wood do the talking
(whether plain or with exquisite carvings).
2) Scattered around the various galleries are an assortment of chairs and
benches for visitors to sit on, but which are also works of art in their
own right, and part of the collection. In the Japanese scroll room, I
found a Sam Maloof armchair. I never thought I'd ever get my butt into an
original Maloof. Even with the sign next to it encouraging you to sit on
it, it felt kind of weird to be doing so.