MFA Overnight: Putting the “ART” in “PARTY”

Attendees of the mfaNOW Overnight: College Edition on Friday, Oct. 14, walk past "PLEASE..." by Jeppe Hein, which greets visitors at the entrance of the Museum of Fina Arts in Boston, Mass. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

By Charles Borsos and Landry Harlan
BU News Service

A line of hundreds of students dressed in their party best shuffled its way into the Museum of Fine Arts Friday to experience the second mfaNOW Overnight of the season. It looked more like a line for the opening of a club than an art institution.

“I heard there was a cool party going on,” said Cameron Rivera, a current Northeastern student standing in the cold waiting to get in. Lisa Sherman, also from Northeastern said, “I heard you can’t go to Boston and not go to the MFA.”

The 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. event is definitely a rarity for museums, more often thought of as places for the older, more “cultured” crowd. As soon the museum came into view, the difference was apparent.

Riley Rettig, 18, (right) and Brianna Rettig, 20, look at "Prisma Branco" by Ernesto Neto in the Museum of Fine Arts durings its MFAnow Overnight: College Edition Friday night in Boston, Mass. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

Riley Rettig, 18, (right) and Brianna Rettig, 20, look at “Prisma Branco” by Ernesto Neto in the Museum of Fine Arts durings its MFAnow Overnight: College Edition Friday night in Boston, Mass. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

Swarms of college-aged people filtered through the various wings and exhibitions. The event catered to all interests, whether it be the lawn games under the lit up and pulsating outer wall of the Contemporary Art Wing, or the unique exhibitions and DJ crafted beats enveloping the makeshift dance floor inside. It was a hip crowd who almost distracted from the art on the wall with their colorful and unusual fashion. The MFA had a bar in the second floor and a Pabst Blue Ribbon seemed to be in every other hand.

The more interactive or multimedia pieces drew more of the crowd than the static art. There was an art studio going downstairs so guests could try their hand with colored pencils. Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” was particularly popular. The 24-hour long film showing each second of a day through clocks filmed throughout the history of television and film easily had the longest line inside.

The basement’s typewriter bar was another popular attraction. Guests could dictate to an attendant with a typewriter and leave with a special letter to send to a friend or family member. The cacophony of a dozen typewriters striking paper was strange to hear outside of a movie but was well appreciated by the long line of students waiting for a turn.

The contemporary art on display included paintings and sculptures but also installation pieces that seemed to bemuse guests. “How does someone get f—ing paid for this?” said Sam Brumer in response to a Frances Stark piece titled “Osservate, Leggete Con Me.” Her friend, Taylor Leonard, said, “I’m sorry, we went from sex chat to economic crisis in a matter of 7 sentences.”

Sam Turton, from the UK, said that, “The fact it’s making me think it’s art means it is art.”

The students weren’t all just from local colleges, either. Aziz Basseet and Matt Bejtlich came all the way from Providence to check it out.

“We just wanted to see some art and get inspired,” said Bejtlich, who is applying to graduate schools to study graphic design.

Fabrizio D’Angelo from UMASS Lowell just hoped he could keep up with all the evening’s activities. Asked how long he was planning to stay, he laughed and said, “Until I get too tired. I just had a coffee, maybe that will help.”

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