PEM Presents Exciting & Ambitious 2016 Exhibition Schedule


SALEM, MA –  The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents an exciting and ambitious exhibition schedule for 2016, with a very powerful sense of place. Start the year with two sensory experiences, exploring two dynamic places. Afro-Cuban artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and her husband, composer Neil Leonard, ignite our senses of wonder, smell and sound with Alchemy of the Soul. Next, visit the vibrant and bustling city of Amsterdam in the 17th century where a culture of luxury was created by global trade. Explore Granada, Spain, spend the summer scrambling over rocks and wading into tidal pools with Childe Hassam on the Isles of Shoals and then voyage to Paris. Since 1799, when the museum’s global entrepreneurs first began bringing treasures from abroad, PEM has been an inspiring destination, dedicated to global connections and transformation, while broadening perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of ourselves and the wider world.

Alchemy of the Soul: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
January 9 -- April 3, 2016

Alchemy of the Soul: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons presents the most ambitious collaboration between the Afro-Cuban artist and her husband, musician and composer Neil Leonard. Through large-scale blown-glass sculptures, paintings, photographs and evocative soundscapes, the artist draws on the structural forms found in the abandoned sugar mills and rum factories of her childhood island home. Incorporating the sweet smell of rum, this multi-sensory exhibition creates an intoxicating reconceptualization of the often-brutal history of the Cuban sugar industry, offering a visceral experience that ignites the senses and our emotional awareness of place, memory, identity and labor.

Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha
February 6 -- July 10, 2016

Intersections is an immersive single room installation that bathes the visitor in a geometric array of light and shadow. Inspired by traditional Islamic architectural motifs, Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha's laser-cut steel lantern conjures the design of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, a historic site of cross-cultural intersection where a thousand years ago Islamic and Western cultures thrived in coexistence. Agha, an internationally renowned award-winning artist, creates mixed-media works that engage topics ranging from global politics and cultural multiplicity, to mass media and gender roles.

Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age
February 27 -- June 5, 2016

Amsterdam in the 17th century was a vibrant city with global connections. The largest and most powerful trade and shipping company in the world, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) filled Dutch homes with Asian porcelain, lacquer, sumptuous textiles, diamonds and spices. Inspired by these novel imports, Dutch potters, textile designers and jewelers created works of art we now perceive as distinctly Dutch. Artists such as Rembrandt, Willem Kalf, Jan Steen and Pieter Claesz were also quick to incorporate these luxuries into their paintings. Co-organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, this exhibition of nearly 200 superlative Asian and Dutch works of art explores the transformative impact that Asian luxuries had on Dutch art and life in the 17th century.

Rodin: Transforming Sculpture
May 14 -- September 5, 2016

Whether working in plaster, marble or bronze on an intimate or monumental scale, Auguste Rodin captured the emotional and psychological complexities of human beings in ways that few sculptors before or after him have achieved. He also profoundly changed the language of sculpture by playing with accident and emphasizing the act of creating rather than completing a work of art. Rodin favored fragmentation and recombination as the principal expression of the significance he attached to change and transformation as the keys to creativity. Featuring sculptures and drawings, this thematic exhibition highlights the drama and experimentation that have established Rodin as one of the greatest sculptors of all time. Originally titled Metamorphosis: Rodin's Studio, the exhibition was organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, in collaboration with the Musée Rodin, Paris.


American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals

July 16 -- November 6, 2016

When Childe Hassam stepped off the ferry onto the rocks of Appledore Island, he found the place that would occupy his imagination for three decades. Comfortably ensconced in a rambling resort, waking to bright sun and Atlantic breezes, the artist gave himself over to painting en plein air. Hassam created a body of work that remains a pinnacle of American impressionism. This is the first exhibition in more than 25 years to focus on Hassam's paintings of the Isles of Shoals, a group of small, rocky islands lying in the Gulf of Maine six miles off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The exhibition features more than 40 oil paintings and watercolors dating from the late 1880s to 1912, offering a sustained reverie on nature, the pleasure of painting and a rapturous sense of place and color: a celebrated island garden with its gem-like flowers; dense thickets of bayberry wedged in granite crags; and the dark ocean breaking against rocks and swirling in tidal pools.

Gallery of the Louvre

October 8, 2016 -- January 8, 2017

Struggling to secure his reputation as a great American artist, Samuel F.B. Morse sailed to Europe and embarked on a period of intense study and prodigious copying that culminated in his 1833 grand work Gallery of the Louvre. Measuring approximately six feet by nine, the painting depicts an imagined installation of artworks in the Salon Carre at the Musee du Louvre in Paris, compressing 38 paintings, two sculptures and numerous figures into a single composition. A founder of the National Academy of Design in New York, Morse’s piece offers various approaches to the treatment of color, light, line and composition. Located within the painting are the seeds of Morse's experiments with the daguerreotype, the electromagnetic telegraph and Morse code. Though underappreciated in its time, Gallery of the Louvre embodies an intersection of art, religion, science and technology.

Lunar Attraction
October 15, 2016 -- Fall 2017

As Earth’s closest celestial body and only natural satellite, the moon has engaged our curiosity and imagination over millennia and across cultures. Contemporary artists use the moon as both a source of inspiration and investigation. Lunar Attraction features artworks and interactives that explore our longstanding fascination and connection with the moon, ranging from the psychological effects of a full moon to the gravitational pull that controls Earth’s tides to the 21st-century international race to build a base on the moon.  

 Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
November 19, 2016 -- March 12, 2017

Examine the extremes of footwear from around the globe through more than 200 pairs of shoes, ranging from elaborate vintage designs to those by contemporary makers. This exhibition considers the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes and examines the latest developments in footwear technology creating the possibility of ever higher heels and dramatic shapes. Examples from famous shoe wearers and collectors are shown alongside a dazzling range of historic shoes, many of which have not been displayed before. The exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

       Image Credits (Top to bottom)

  1. Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Alchemy of the Soul, Elixir for the Spirits (detail), 2015. Glass. © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Walter Silver/PEM.

  2. Anila Quayyum Agha, Intersections, 2012.  Photo courtesy of the artist.

  3. Paulus Moreelse, Portrait of a Young Woman, about 1620. Oil on panel. Art Institute of Chicago, Max and Leola Epstein Collection. Photo by Jacques Breuer.

  4. Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, large version, 1903. Patinated plaster for bronze casting, Paris, Musée Rodin. © Musée Rodin. Photo by Christian Baraja.

  5. Childe Hassam, Poppies, Isles of Shoals, 1891. Oil on canvas. Gift of Margaret and Raymond Horowitz. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

  6. Greg Mort, Red, White and Blue Moon, 2013. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

  7. Atalanta Weller, Scotty Boots, 2010. Leather and polyurethane. Designed in England, made in Portugal. Courtesy of Jaron James, V&A Photographic Studio.

  8. Samuel F.B. Morse. Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–33. Oil on canvas. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. 1992.51.

Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | | 978-542-1828
Dinah Cardin | Press Officer/Special Projects Writer | | 978-542-1830