Developing Boston:Berenice Abbott and Irene Shwachman Photograph a Changing CityPhotographing at different times in Boston’s history, Abbott and Shwachman’s series each explore ways of viewing, dissecting, and preserving Boston. Examining how the photographers consider presence, tempo, materiality, and change within the city, Developing Boston invites visitors to explore Boston’s past, present, and future, and find their place within the city.Exhibition Opening & Reception: Developing Boston: Berenice Abbott and Irene Shwachman Photograph a Changing City

EXHIBITION OPENING AND RECEPTIONMONDAY, 8.28 at 5:30 PM ET
Opening August 28, 2023 – December 30, 2023 in the Calderwood Gallery

From views of the Old State House to the quiet streets of Beacon Hill and the West End, this exhibition presents a reexamination of two documentary photographers who captured the development of Boston’s urban landscape in the mid-twentieth century: Berenice Abbott, a canonical modernist whose work in New England remains understudied, and Irene Shwachman, an unknown yet crucial documenter of an evolving Boston.

Placing the two photographers in conversation for the first time, this exhibition will examine Abbott’s 1934 photographic portrait of Boston’s nineteenth-century vernacular buildings and Shwachman’s 1959-1968 project “The Boston Document,” which chronicled the urban renewal of the decade. The exhibition will explore the evolutions of Boston throughout the twentieth century and how a developing documentary practice, established by Abbott and amended by Shwachman, engaged with and captured the changing subject.

Gallery doors will open at 5:30 pm before a short presentation by the exhibition’s curator Lauren Graves at 6 pm. Reception to follow. Registration is not required but appreciated.

Artists for Humanity Photographs Boston
EXHIBITION LECTURE | with Artists for Humanity
TUESDAY, 9.19 at 6 PM ET

The Boston Athenæum began working with Artists For Humanity in April 2022. Four teen artists, supported by a mentor, created photographs that respond to the themes explored in Developing Boston: Berenice Abbott and Irene Shwachman Photograph a Changing City. 

Please join us for a conversation with the teens from Artists For Humanity: Victoria “Tori” Kutta (They/Them), Nancy Gonzales (She/Her), Axander Vazquez (He/Him), and Rose Narcisee (She/Her).

The artists will discuss their work and experiences photographing Boston in the twenty-first-century.
View all upcoming Developing Boston events by clicking here.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

See what you discover Conversations are at the core of who we are. The Athenæum Salon Series features brilliant speakers discussing topics crucial to our society. These events aspire to bridge growing social divides through candid, respectful conversations and inspirational stories on topics addressing culture, politics, innovation, and philosophy.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Digging Stars
SALON SERIES | Novuyo Rosa TshumaMONDAY, 9.18 at 6 PM ET

Blending drama and satire while examining the complexities of colonialism, racism, and what it means to be American, Digging Stars probes the mtional universes of love, friendship, family, and nationhood.

With admission to The Program, an elite interdisciplinary graduate cohort at the forefront of astronomy and technology, Rosa’s dreams are finally within reach. Her research into the cosmos follows in the footsteps of her astronomer father’s revolutionary work in Bantu geometries and Indigenous astronomies.

A bona fide genius, he transformed the scientific landscape by fusing the best of Western and Indigenous scientific thought. Yet since his death during her childhood, Rosa has been plagued by anxiety attacks she dubs “The Terrors”—and by unresolved questions about her father’s life. Who is his mysterious friend Mr. C? Who was her father, really? 

Digging Stars is a paean to the cosmos and a celebration of the democratic spirit of knowledge. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s characters explode the rigid matrices of the academy to prove that science, art, technology, and history are all planets orbiting the same sun.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Come On In!

7 Wonders of the Ancient Roman World
LECTURE | with Darius Ary, in partnership with the ICAA
THURSDAY, 9.14 at 6 PM ET
In-Person – BA and ICAA Members $40, Visitors $50Virtual – BA and ICAA Members $15, Visitors $20

Within the context of the seven ancient wonders of the world, Darius Arya re-contextualizes the list with Rome in mind. With original video footage, he’ll evaluate and give new insights on some of the most important architectural and engineering achievements of Rome. Keeping a sharp focus on Rome itself, he’ll also traverse the confines of the entire empire to ask the question of why so much of the Roman art and architecture is still here, and how has Ancient Rome remained influential in designs, materials, innovations, and solutions.
This talk is a special event in partnership with the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, New England.Come On In: Community Day Open HouseSATURDAY, 9.30 (timed entry on the hour from 10 AM – 3 PM ET)
Calling all curious!
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What’s an Athenaeum?” or walked by 10 ½ Beacon Street and wondered about the unique address or the swinging red doors, Come On In! Community Day is one of the most fun, lively ways to find out. Get ready for an incredible journey filled with discovery (and some surprises). Explore all five floors while reveling in live music, getting up close with our collections, immersing yourself in our newest exhibit, and more!
Tickets are on a timed entry on the hour from 10 AM – 3 PM. Sign up at the link below.
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