May 1, 2017 - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Pablo Helguera: Club Americano
May 1, 2017

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Photo: Shane Godfrey.

Pablo Helguera: Club Americano
April 22–June 4, 2017

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA 02115
United States
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–5pm,
Wednesday–Friday 10am–10pm

T +1 617 267 9300
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New York–based artist and educator Pablo Helguera (b. 1971, Mexico City) cordially invites you to Club Americano, the culminating project of the artist’s residency at the MFA. This intimate one-room exhibition and shared space explores the historic foundations and contemporary definitions of American identity. Here, the term “American” is understood in the Pan-American sense: its Spanish translation, "americano," can refer to anyone or anything from either North or South America. Helguera takes aesthetic inspiration from 19th century Bostonian university clubs and gentlemen’s lounges—exclusive gathering spaces for elite groups of one gender and race—but breaks with tradition by welcoming people of all backgrounds.

At the center of the gallery is a 19th century dining table, surrounded by paintings, photographs, prints, textiles, and decorative arts from the Museum’s world-renowned collection of art from the Americas. Selected by Helguera in collaboration with MFA curators, these artworks serve as the subject of three performances that examine their histories through a present-day lens. Modeled on the tradition of the 19th century “after-dinner speech,” each program features a range of voices, including local academics, artists and activists, as well as members of the MFA’s Teen Arts Council. Additionally, the MFA has invited select community advocacy groups to organize public events in the space on Wednesday evenings, when admission to the Museum is free. We welcome you to gather, lounge, read, experience the performances, and participate in the community-organized events. For a complete schedule, visit the exhibition website.

Performance series

What Is a Club?
Friday, April 21, 6:30pm

Worldly and Otherworldly Perspectives
Friday, May 19, 6:30pm

Inventing América
Friday, June 2, 6:30pm

Organized by Liz Munsell, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Special Initiatives, position supported by Lorraine Bressler; with Dennis Carr, Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture; and Layla Bermeo, Kristin and Roger Servison Assistant Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas.

Performance Art at the MFA is supported by Lorraine Bressler.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art, and performance. Drawing from his experience as an educator, Helguera’s artistic projects often incorporate pedagogical devices such as the classroom setting and lecture format. In 2008 he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and also was the recipient of a 2005 Creative Capital Grant. Helguera is the author of Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011) and The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary Art Style (2007), among numerous other publications, and is the maker of Artoons, a series of cartoons poking fun at the art world. He has exhibited widely in museums and biennials internationally, most recently at Manifesta 11 in Zurich, and is currently the subject of a mid-career survey at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City.

Performance Art at the MFA
The MFA is one of the first encyclopedic museums in the US to integrate performance art into its collection, exhibitions, and programs. Performance art at the MFA encompasses a spectrum of live and participatory experiences and features a range of works by international, national, and local artists. Since the opening of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art in 2011, the MFA has acquired three performance-related artworks for its permanent collection and organized dozens of performance-based events, including works that unfold in the Museum’s galleries and engage with its collection, performances that form part of multimedia contemporary art exhibitions, and fleeting interventions that appear in unexpected spaces inside the Museum or outdoors. Further information and documentation of past works can be viewed through the Performance Art Archive.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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