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The Tufts University Art Galleries is the university's center for visual arts where exhibitions, lectures, performances, and artist residencies converge to animate the intellectual life of the greater Tufts community and beyond.

The Tufts University Art Galleries oversee the exhibition spaces in the Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center on the Medford/Somerville Campus, the galleries at the SMFA campus, and the Tufts University’s Permanent and Public Art Collection.

Upcoming Exhibitions and Events at SMFA


Faheem Majeed: Who Takes the Weight
"Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Indebted Mass", 2019. Installation shot from Faheem Majeed: Who Takes the Weight. Courtesy of the Artist and Tufts University Art Galleries.

Grossman and Anderson Galleries, SMFA Campus
August 22 – October 26, 2019
Opening Reception and Roundtable Discussion September 12, 6-8 pm

Faheem Majeed is a builder—literally and metaphorically. A resident of the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago, Majeed transforms materials such as particle board, scrap metal, and billboard remnants, breathing new life into these often overlooked and devalued materials. Synthesizing aspects of making, curating, community organizing, performance, and appropriation, Majeed’s work acts as an entry point into larger questions around civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional critique. For his first exhibition in Boston, Majeed has created two large-scale site-specific installations in the Grossman and Anderson galleries at SMFA at Tufts, engaging with architectural, institutional and community histories. These works take inspiration from the institution-building legacies of Boston cultural icon Ms. Elma Lewis and Chicago artist, educator, and poet Dr. Margaret Burroughs. For Majeed, to delve into this history is a social practice and also an intensely material experience, one that brings together the studio and the presumptions of community. Organized by Abigail Satinsky, Curator.

Visiting Artist Program

Each year, the Art Galleries oversee the SMFA Visiting Artist Program and invite renown artists to visit with students and present lectures that are free and open to all. We present artists in collaboration with the exhibitions program, faculty interest, and area institutions. Talks are typically held in Anderson Auditorium at SMFA at Tufts but are sometimes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, or on the Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus.

Fall 2019 Visiting Artists Events

Faheem Majeed Roundtable
Thursday, September 12, 6 pm
Anderson Auditorium, SMFA at Tufts

Artist Faheem Majeed, Dr. Kymberly Pinder, Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs at MassArt, Edmund Barry Gaither, Director and Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, and Destiny Plk, founder of Radical Black Girl, will be in conversation on Majeed’s solo exhibition as well as the legacy of African American art and institution-building in Boston and Chicago.

Sanford Biggers
Wednesday, October 16, 7 pm
Aidekman Arts Center, Medford/Somerville Campus

Exhibiting artist Sanford Biggers will speak with Christa J. Clarke, independent curator / affiliate of Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. The public conversation is part of the Annual Beckwith Lecture, established in 1978 by Leo and Betty Beckwith to bring curators and cultural thinkers of national and international stature to SMFA.

Aliza Nisenbaum in conversation with Anthony Romero
Wednesday, October 30, 6 pm
Anderson Auditorium, SMFA at Tufts

Aliza Nisenbaum was born in Mexico City and lives and works in New York. The subjects of her recent work are often undocumented immigrants, portrayed in bold colors against patterned interiors and private spaces. For Nisenbaum, the process of painting portraits from observation is a political act, one that sets up an ethical encounter in which both participants give their attention and trust and learn about one another.

Anthony Romero is Professor of the Practice at SMFA at Tufts and is currently a David and Roberta Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard University. 

Nisenbaum's work is included in the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston's exhibition "When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art", on view October 23, 2019–January 26, 2020. Nisenbaum and Romero are in dialogue in the catalogue for the exhibition.

Firelei Baez
Wednesday, November 6, 7 pm
Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Firelei Báez was born in Santiago de los Caballeros and lives and works in New York. She makes intricate works on paper, canvas as well as large scale sculpture. Through a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.

Press Press
Friday, November 8, 12:30 pm
Aidekman Arts Center, Medford/Somerville Campus

Press Press has been cultivating a collaborative manifesto, Sentiments: Expressions of Cultural Passage, with immigrants and immigrant-adjacent individuals to answer questions regarding sanctuary. Join us in contributing to an expanded manifesto through this workshop. Open to people of all backgrounds and experiences. Presented in conjunction with the Boston Art Book Fair at the Boston Center for the Arts.
 



Exhibitions Across Campuses

Tufts PUBLIC

Tufts PUBLIC is a program of yearlong, temporary public art projects designed for spaces outside the Art Galleries and throughout the school’s Medford/Somerville, SMFA and Boston Health Sciences campuses.

Jenny Polak: ICE Escape Signs

Weems Atrium, SMFA Campus
Media Wall, Aidekman Art Center, Medford/Somerville Campus

Jenny Polak makes site and community responsive art that reframes immigrant-citizen relations, amplifying demands for social justice. As an exhibiting artist in the upcoming exhibition Walls Turned Sides: Artists Confront the Justice System (coming to TUAG Spring 2020), Polak will work with the Tufts community to create a series of site-respondent signs throughout campus beginning in the fall as part of her ongoing series – ICE Escape Signs.

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Artist Response

Artist Response is an ongoing initiative in the SMFA's Well Space and the Aidekman Arts Center’s Media Wall that puts historical and contemporary artists’ projects responding to social crises in dialogue. Utilizing a range of critical and creative strategies, these works speak to a historical continuum of how artists reflect and resist their social moments.

Artist Response: Press Press
Kimi Hanauer Calling All Denizens The Well and Courtyard, SMFA Campus
Press Press Sanctuary is on the Horizon Remis Sculpture Court, Aidekman Art Center, Medford/Somerville Campus

Press Press (based in Baltimore, MD) aims to shift and deepen the understanding of voices, identities, and narratives that have been suppressed or misrepresented by the mainstream, so far focusing on immigration and race in the United States, and to build networks of relationships through publishing practices centered on self-representation and gathering. Press Press core organizers are Valentina Cabezas , Kimi Hanauer, Bomin Jeon, and Bilphena Yahwon.

In Medford, their installation will be associated with the group exhibition Bookworks.

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Upcoming Exhibitions and Events in Medford/Somerville

"Chance", 2011. 16" x 20", Acrylic, spackle and canvas on panel

Julie Graham: Stack, Layer, and Arrange

Tisch Family Gallery, Aidekman Art Center, Medford/Somerville Campus
August 22 – September 29, 2019
Opening Reception Thursday, September 5, 6-8 pm

Stack, Layer, and Arrange is the first comprehensive retrospective of Julie S. Graham (1947-2018), Boston-based painter and beloved instructor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Guest curated by Martina Tanga.

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BookWorks

Tisch and Koppelman Galleries, Medford/Somerville Campus
August 22 – December 15, 2019
Opening Reception
Thursday, September 5, 6-8 pm

Bookworks presents a wide-ranging look into the contemporary practice of artist-made books. Borrowing its title from Ulises Carrión, author of the seminal 1975 manifesto The New Art of Making Books, Bookworks examines books and book-making as a distinctive form of artwork that has found new footing in the digitally-marked 21st century.

Bookworks is organized by Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator with Chiara Pidatella, Research Curator, and Graduate Fellows Emily Chun, AG20 and Kevin Vogelaar, AG20.

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"Infinite Tabernacle", 2017. HD video installation, dimensions variable, 4:26 minutes. Courtesy the artist; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen; and Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong. Sanford Biggers. Photo credit: Object Studies.
Sanford Biggers

Tisch Family Gallery, Medford/Somerville Campus
October 8 – December 15, 2019
Thursday, October 17, 7pm – Artist Talk and Reception

Sanford Biggers is the first exhibition focused on Biggers’s BAM series, which includes sculpture, video, and paintings. Biggers’s practice encourages meaningful dialogue around history and trauma in America. Organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and accompanied by a catalogue, with contributions by Naomi Beckwith (Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), Christa J. Clarke (Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum), Lisa Melandri, and Kahlil Gibran Muhammad (Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School).

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SMFA Radio Station: SMFA 1630AM

SMFA Library Annex, 230 The Fenway

A co-production of the Tufts University Art Galleries, Wave Farm, and the SMFA Library, the SMFA 1630 AM radio station brings traditional AM and online broadcasting capabilities to the school. Wave Farm, a pioneer of sound and transmission art, is an upstate New York-based nonprofit arts organization driven by experimentation with broadcast media.

The SMFA radio station endures as a legacy of their year-long 2018/2019 residency at Tufts University Art Galleries, and offers students, faculty, staff, and affiliated artists a venue for both conventional and experimental broadcasts. AM transmissions are hyper-local and accessible exclusively within the school. The online stream (returning in August 2019 with the start of the fall academic year) can be heard anywhere via https://wavefarm.org/listen or the Wave Farm app (available on the iTunes App Store).

Beckwith Lecture

Established in 1978 by Leo and Betty Beckwith, the Beckwith Lecture features curators and cultural thinkers of national and international stature.

Wednesday October 16, 7 pm
In Conversation: SANFORD BIGGERS & CHRISTA J. CLARKE

Aidekman Arts Center, Medford/Somerville Campus
Followed by a reception in Remis Sculpture Court

Exhibiting artist Sanford Biggers will speak with Christa J. Clarke, independent curator / affiliate of Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

View Past Beckwith Lecture Speakers

Harry Dodge + Amy Sillman
Arthur Jafa + Christina Sharpe
Alaina Clare Feldman
Eva Respini
Ben Davis
Jorge Fernandez Torres
Veronica Roberts
Jen Mergel
Kim Berman
Jacquelynn Baas
Linda Dalrymple Henderson
Lynn Cook
W.J.T. Mitchell
Okwui Enwezor
Hal Foster
Alfredo Jaar
Nancy Spero
Dave Hickey
Carolee Schneeman
Dan Graham
Lynda Benglis
Stan Brakhage
Bill Viola
Karen Finley
Mary Frank
Lorna Simpson
Barbara Kruger
John Cage
Julie Taylor
John Baldessari
John Wilson
Allan Kaprow
Elizabeth Murray
Robert Irwin
Yvonne Rainer
Robert Wilson