July 22, 2023–January 12, 2025

Tender Loving Care

Contemporary Art from the Collection

Closed between July 15 and 23 while we make updates to select works of art on view.

At their core, creating and looking at works of art are acts of care, from the artist’s labor to the viewer’s contemplation and appreciation. Storage, conservation, and display are also ways of tending to art. This exhibition invites visitors to explore how contemporary artists trace and address concepts of care through their materials, subjects, ideas, and processes.

More than 100 works from the MFA’s collection—including recent acquisitions and objects that have never been on view before—define, depict, and demonstrate many forms of care through five thematic groupings: threads, thresholds, rest, vibrant matter, and adoration. Gisela Charfauros McDaniel’s portrait of her mother, Tiningo’ si Sirena (2021), moves between intimacy and an attentiveness to larger concepts that are meaningful to the artist, like cultural inheritances and ecological interconnectivity. For his Sound Suit (2008), Nick Cave extended the lifespan of discarded objects by transforming them into a surreal, otherworldly costume that asserts the value of Black life. The intensive time and labor that goes into creating textiles and fiber art is evident in examples by Sheila Hicks, Howardena Pindell, and Jane Sauer. Through these works and many others visitors can consider how different forms of care may inspire new models for living and feeling—now and in the future.

Please Be Seated

Throughout “Tender Loving Care,” visitors are invited to take a moment for rest and contemplation. Please Be Seated began at the MFA in 1975 and was the first museum program in the country to commission contemporary artists to make benches and chairs for visitor use that were also acquired into the Museum’s collection. These objects transcend the traditional observational relationship between works of art and their audience, instead becoming active participants in providing care for museumgoers.

  • Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Level 2

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Art for This Moment

Explore posts from Art for This Moment, the MFA’s blog, featuring artworks on view in “Tender Loving Care.”

Welcome to Our Home

Anna Nasi, a summer 2023 MFA Pathways intern in the Department for Contemporary Art, looks at Miriam Schapiro’s powerful femmage Welcome to Our Home (1983) and considers how it has helped create room for women textile makers in fine arts spaces.

Read the Essay

Tiningo’ si Sirena

A figure wrapped from the waist down in a red patterned textile reclines surrounded by green plants.

Marina Tyquiengco, Ellyn McColgan Assistant Curator of Native American Art, spoke with artist Gisela Charfauros McDaniel and her mother, Antoinette CHarfauros McDaniel, about the many forms of care addressed in Gisela’s painting and sound piece Tiningo’ si Sirena (2021).

Read the Interview


Installing Diedrick Brackens’s ‘shadow raze’


Generously supported by The Museum Council Artist in Residency Program Fund. Additional support from The Martin and Deborah Hale Family, the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions, and the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund.