From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Harvard Art Museums

David Lynch Transcendental Meditation Interview


The Deep Dive

A light conversation with David Lynch on Transcendental Meditation, the unified...

The Perfect Cup

Food and Drink

The Perfect Cup

Terra Kaffe’s espresso machine elevates your morning ritual with the press of a...

Tonga Room, San Francisco.

Wine and Spirits

The Sweet Escape

On the enduring allure of the tiki bar.

Architect Renzo Piano and museum director Thomas Lentz faced major challenges as they planned the cultural megaplex now known as the Harvard Art Museums. The pair mulled over how best to combine three complementary collections: the haul of treasures from Germanic areas at the Busch-Reisinger (don’t miss a passel of works by Joseph Beuys), the Sackler’s mash-up of ancient and non-Western artifacts and the sprawling Fogg’s holdings of art from Europe and America. Pulling down some of the shabbier buildings was the easy part. Less straightforward was Piano’s task of building a statement museum (left) that would sit elegantly beside Le Corbusier’s swirling Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts next door. Lentz likens the solution to an embrace, where Le Corbusier’s corkscrewing ramps have been extended to surge down past, and even through, Piano’s design.

Six years and $350 million later, the duo’s combined efforts are set to be unveiled on November 16. The resulting merged museum, Lentz stresses, is “not a static treasure house.” No amenity better encapsulates his mission than the Art Study Center, where visitors can request in advance a work of art for inspection at leisure. “It’s always been our hallmark,” Lentz says, “close looking and thinking, so people can have some sort of transformative experience with art.” Allow one hour to scope out the reorganized collections at the Fogg and its counterparts, and tack on an extra hour for some private time to visit with a favorite piece. At 32 Quincy St., Cambridge, Massachusetts;


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.