Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Free First Thursdays at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum highlights special exhibit

Lilly Miron
The courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Free First Thursdays: February 2024.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened its doors to the general public, offering free registration to those who wanted to experience the awe-inspiring world of wonder created by Garder herself Feb. 1.

The museum, located a stop after the Museum of Fine Arts on the Green Line, dedicates the first Thursday of every month to free admission. Often this occasion is marked by unique events thrown by the museum to highlight its current displayed piece.

This month, Steve McQueen’s “Lynching Tree” was vividly illuminated to the crowds, enticing viewers to consider the dark histories and truths hidden within nature’s beauty. Centered within the image is an immense oak strung with delicate vines, defined by the surrounding luscious mire. 

McQueen, who took the photograph during his time directing the film “12 Years a Slave,” reveals the jarring duality of the world around us, as the grand oak stands as the setting of horrific lynchings that took place on a New Orlean’s plantation until the 1950s. It’s a disturbing perspective to occupy, witnessing the beauty of nature through the lens of racial violence. 

The moving piece of artwork was accompanied by events and performances that spotlighted magnificent creations by artists seizing the position to celebrate black power. Johnette Marie, a luminary and medicine maker, donned a space for altar work and spirituality, inspired by the expressions of Black culture. The demonstration elicited the essence of reflecting upon the past with a quiet stillness. 

A violet brilliance took over the museum’s courtyard as the Maliq Wynn Quartet electrified the ancient exhibit with heavy beats and a jargon of playful melodies. The drummer, Maliq Wynn,  curated a set of songs celebrating the work of underrated Black artists. Joining him was Devon Gates on the bass, Mwanzi Harriot on the guitar and Lemuel Marc on the trumpet. Together the quartet brought funk and jazz rhythms to life as the musicians interpreted each other’s sounds with skillful spontaneity. Visitors crowded along the edge of the museum’s garden teeming with greenery and florals to witness the talented group dive into the soul-enriching spell of such music. 

As the quartet approached their fourth song, the other members set down their instruments, letting Devon Gates take the spotlight as she soloed a song titled “Body and Soul.”. The museum, once characterized by the noise of restless visitors, was soothed into a peaceful silence as all attention turned toward Gates’ mesmerizing vocals. Effortlessly piercing high notes with an angelic elevation and running the low octaves with smooth adaptations, Gates captured the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with ease.

The night illustrated how art can encapsulate both the light and dark dichotomies between the human experience, filling each person in the building with a touch of creativity. Those hoping to feel inspired and connected with the world should pay the magical collection a visit to revel in its beauty.

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