Specters in Residence: Gardner & Guggenheim

Great essay on art, women, and the impact we leave on the world around us. Check it out!

The Female Gaze

Ghosts are not the stuff of fairytales. Vibrant personalities leave their impressions on the places they inhabit. Many of these spaces suffer destruction, alteration, redecoration—look at any number of “home museums” and you’ll find period furniture, recreating the ambiance of a place and time.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum looks a bit like a haunted house. A tall, red-brick Italian-style villa dropped prettily next to the Boston Fens, it gives the impression of a visitor stepping in from another time and place. The mansion’s tall double doors look out, as they have for over a century, onto the marshy fenland. Several years ago, the Gardener closed those doors forever, changing the museum’s entryway by knocking down the little carriage house and erecting in its place a modern glass-and-metal addendum to the palatial brick-and-terra-cotta structure. This is the only way to expand the museum: the house itself, in accordance with Gardner’s…

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