BOSTON - What better reason to head out of New York than a lunch in honor of Ellsworth Kelly? Timed to coincide with the opening of his show at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the weekend also celebrated the opening of the Joyce Linde Wing, a renovation of the I.M. Pei building repurposed for their growing contemporary art collection.

It was nostalgic for me, having worked at the MFA under the tutelage of John Walsh in the mid-1970s, and having studied with Ken Moffett, who was at that time the curator of contemporary art.  Between the new east wing, and the renovated west wing, I hardly recognized the place. Ellsworth’s show was impeccable – 19 wood relief sculptures, some wall related and others free standing, crafted of exotic woods that revealed the subtlest difference in terms of grain and color. There was such a harmonious dialogue as I moved from one sculpture to the other. The serene and contemplative environment was a welcome counterpoint to the cacophonous contemporary installation upstairs. 

Ellsworth was in great form as we dined on a goat cheese salad, chicken with a crispy slice of pancetta, and some saffron risotto.  Not bad for a museum restaurant!

I had the pleasure of sitting between the Director, Malcolm Rogers, who is in the 17th year of his tenure,  and chief curator Edward Saywell, who brilliantly orchestrated Ellsworth’s show. 

Many of Ellsworth’s admirers flew in for the occasion, including Matthew Marks, Bill Katz, Peter Freeman, and it was a pleasure to be in the company of MFA trustees Ann Gund and Joyce Linde for this festive occasion.