As the state capital and largest city in Massachusetts, Boston is quite rightly home to an outstanding contemporary art scene that includes long-established art museums and smaller, independent venues. Enjoy our updated guide to The Ten Best Art Galleries in Boston to ensure you don’t miss out on the best contemporary art the city has to offer.
A relatively new addition to Boston’s contemporary art scene, Adelson Galleries was established in October of 2012 and is operated by director Adam Adelson, a graduate of art-history from Boston University and son of gallerist and art dealer Warren Adelson, who owns Adelson Galleries’ New York branch. Focusing on aesthetically varied modern and contemporary art, the gallery has two exhibition spaces spread over two floors and has recently exhibited works by mixed media painter and Boston native Sam Earle as well as Georgia-born African American artist Winfred Rembert, whose paintings depict life in the pre-civil rights South. Amongst the artists in Adelson Gallery are Canadian sculptor James Edward Ritchie and British painter Graham Nickson.
Adelson Galleries, 520 Harrison Avenues, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 832 0633
Barbara Krakow Gallery
One of Boston’s most long-standing art venues, the prestigious Barbara Krakow Gallery was founded in 1964 and is dedicated to the exhibition of exemplary works of postmodern art with an emphasis on work created after 1945, together with minimalist, conceptual and reductivist art. Presenting exhibitions featuring a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, drawing and print works, the gallery represents a diverse body of artists both emerging and established, including pop art-inspired British artist Julian Opie. The gallery’s latest exhibition is a survey of American conceptual artist Mel Bochner’s works created between 2007 to the present.
Barbara Krakow Gallery, 10 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 262 4490
A fixture on the charming, historic Newbury Street since 1977, Gallery NAGA resides in the former Church of the Covenant, a beautiful neo-Gothic structure repurposed into a contemporary art space. The gallery’s main focus is contemporary painting and among the artists represented are several of Boston and New England’s most acclaimed painters – including Boston-based Angolan artist Nelson Da Costa – though it also works with a talented repertoire of contemporary photographers, printmakers, studio furniture designers and sculptors. Recent exhibitions have included Terry Rose’s abstract paintings and multimedia artist Lana Z. Caplan’s stunning photographs documenting her time in Beijing.
Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 267 9060
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Located on Boston’s waterfront on the scenic Harbourwalk overlooking the Charles River, the Institute of Contemporary Arts is a beautiful modern building designed by award-winning firm Diller Scofido + Renfro Architects. Originally founded as the Boston Museum of Modern Art in 1936, before changing its name in 1948, the Institute exists to bring the best contemporary art to Boston art-lovers and is split into different sections – one containing its permanent art collection and another showcasing rotating exhibitions. Continually on the lookout for artists with innovative, ground-breaking practices, the Institute is currently exhibiting Remanence by its present artist-in-residence Matthew Ritchie – a large-scale paint-based installation in which the artist expands the spatial confines of painting.
Miller Yezerski Gallery
The Miller Yezerski Gallery, one of the city’s most respected contemporary art venues, is a collaboration from veteran gallerists Ellen Miller and Howard Yezerski who together bring decades of curatorial experience to their joint venture, established in the summer of 2013. Exhibiting a wide range of mediums encompassing painting, photography, sculpture and installation the gallery represents a respected repertoire of artists that includes Russian-born painter and sculptor Yana Payusova and photographer Rhona Bitner. Miller Yezerski Gallery’s most recent exhibition, ‘…in the atmospheres’, by sculptor and media artist Deb Todd Wheeler is a series of installations, moving images and photograms that meditate on the permanency of objects and memory.
Miller Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 262 0550
Robert Klein Gallery
Regularly cited as one of the world’s most prestigious fine-art photography showrooms, the Robert Klein Gallery was established in 1980 when it began exhibiting works by such high-profile photographers as Diane Arbus and Sally Mann. Maintaining an extensive collection of 19th century, 20th century and contemporary photography, the gallery is also active on the international art scene, regularly participating in art fairs such as New York’s AIPAD Photography Show, Art Miami and Paris Photo. Despite its small, intimate exhibition space the gallery is a major player in the photographic arts world, exhibiting masters such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans alongside contemporary talents like British photographer Cig Harvey.
Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 267 7997
Based among the cluster of galleries on Hamilton Avenue – in Boston’s vibrant South End neighborhood – Gallery Kayafas first opened its doors 11 years ago and focuses on modern and contemporary photography with a distinct emphasis on up-and-coming photographers. Voted Best Photography Gallery of 2013 by Boston Magazine, the gallery is owned by Arlette Kayafas – a collector of photographic art herself. The gallery represents talents including artists collective Triibe – who use photography as social and political commentary – and French photographer Bénédicte Lassalle, whilst also being instrumental in kick-starting the career of Jess T. Dugan whose intimate portraits and still-lifes explore gender, identity and sexuality.
Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 482 0411
A non-profit art space operated by the Laconia Artists Corporation, which is dedicated to furthering the careers of Boston-based artists, Laconia Gallery was founded in 2004 and is located in the trendy Laconia Lofts development in Boston’s South End. The gallery’s main aim is the promotion of local artists via a program of professionally curated exhibitions and participation in the neighborhood’s annual South End Open Studios event, though the gallery also strives to connect the public with art, artists, community art events, lectures and educational programs. Forthcoming exhibitions include a showing of blacksmith, metal smith and sculptor Donna Veverka’s jewellery and a retrospective of American abstract painter Michael David’s 35 year career.
Laconia Gallery, 433 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, +1 857 222 0333
Steven Zevitas Gallery
Established in 2003 in Boston’s arty SoWa (South of Washington) neighborhood by namesake Steven Zevitas, a curator and founder of the critically acclaimed periodical New American Paintings, Steven Zevitas Gallery is a contemporary art space specializing in the exhibition of abstract works on paper, though the gallery’s move to a ground-level space in 2008 has allowed it to feature large-scale installations and a number of other mediums too. The gallery is a regular participant in international art fairs including VOLTA NY and artMRKT San Francisco and recently exhibited David X. Levine’s show John Surette, a series of nostalgic works on paper referencing the pop culture of the artist’s youth.
Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 778 5265 ext. 22
Founded by art dealer Stephanie Walker in 2008, who brings 15 years of experience to the venture, Walker Contemporary is a gallery dedicated to the promotion of exceptional contemporary art by established and young, mid-career artists who demonstrate a passion for innovation in the arts and whose artwork pushes the boundaries of material processes. Among Walker Contemporary’s featured artists are Maine-based installation artist Lauren Fensterstock and German-born abstract painter Udo Nöger, whose works explore light and painting theory, while recent exhibitions have included a presentation of new works by Seattle-based painter John Dempcy.
Walker Contemporary, 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA, +1 617 842 3332