May 18–October 27, 2024

Community Arts Initiative: Our Family Portrait

For “Our Family Portrait,” Boston-based artist Timothy Hyunsoo Lee (b. 1990) guided more than 150 students through creating cyanotype prints representing their biological and chosen families. This exhibition brings their works together into a large-scale installation in the MFA’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art—a reflection of the students’ communities and a celebration of the diversity of faces and voices contained within.

The group’s creative process began with considering relevant artworks within the MFA’s collection, including family portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn, William Matthew Prior, and Erastus Salisbury Field, as well as a contemporary sculpture by Lucia Hierro. The students then learned to make cyanotypes—one of the earliest forms of photography, which produces distinctive blue-toned prints. Their collaborative artwork—the culmination of meaningful conversations and art-making workshops that took place over several months—is displayed alongside several works from the MFA’s contemporary collection and two new examples by Lee. To represent the idea of home as a landscape as well as the community shared between families and friends, David Hockney’s Garrowby Hill (1998) hangs alongside portraits by Charles Allston and Alice Neel. Several works of contemporary American, Japanese and Korean ceramics and glass will also complement a focus on the transmission of craft traditions across time and continents.

“Our Family Portrait” marks the 19th year of the Community Arts Initiative, through which the MFA partners with community organizations to introduce young people ages six to 12 to the Museum’s collection and the art-making process, while also helping them understand how art can be an important part of their lives. For this exhibition, through the Community Arts Initiative, the Museum is proud to partner with Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Jordan Boys & Girls Club, Orchard Gardens Boys & Girls Club, Sociedad Latina, United South End Settlements, Vine Street Community Center, West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton, and Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in New York City, Lee is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores the relationship between bodies, borders, and rituals. He references legacies of history and tradition and often subverts their presentation through queer abstractions and other forms of deterioration. In addition to “Our Family Portrait,” Lee’s work is featured in the exhibition “Hallyu! The Korean Wave.”

  • Edward H. Linde Gallery (Gallery 168)


The Community Arts Initiative is generously supported by the Linde Family Foundation.