The Globe looks for modern art in Boston

Modern art is hard to find in Boston - The Boston Globe

Even in the best-case scenario, however, it will be a long time before Harvard can offer either the public or its students a display that does anything like justice to its holdings.

One plan after another has been proposed to improve the situation for modern and contemporary art, only to be scotched or postponed. (Pity Thomas Lentz, director of the Harvard Art Museum, who, having taken on the job in 2004, is working with his third university president, not to mention ongoing tensions between town and gown and a constantly shifting political, institutional, and financial landscape.)

A 1999 plan to build a pair of new art museums designed by Renzo Piano on the Charles River was strangled when Harvard's Cambridge neighbors protested. An alternative plan, trumpeted in 2006, to build new museum, storage, and administrative facilities in Allston has meanwhile been put on hold while the museum focuses on renovating its badly outdated Quincy Street premises (home to the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums).

Allston is, eventually, where Lentz sees the modern and contemporary collections finding a home. But he can't say when work there will begin, let alone end, and he adds that the current global financial crisis is only adding to the uncertainty.

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