Since its opening in the 1990s, the McMullen Museum of Art has brought interdisciplinary art exhibitions, educational opportunities, and unique events to the Boston College community—all for free. Events like Art After Dark, which have historically attracted over one thousand students, allow the community to come together and appreciate the arts. Tragically, these events were halted in 2020 due to the pandemic. Last year, the museum slowly opened back up to the public and held limited events. However, after two and a half years, the Art After Dark student opening will finally return this Friday, September 9.
To celebrate the beginning of the semester as well as the new exhibitions now on display, the McMullen is hosting a night of '80s-themed activities for BC students. The night will consist of everything from lawn games to live performances to scavenger hunts.
Though you never need an excuse to go back to the '80s, this Art After Dark theme centers around two new exhibitions from the decade: “American Alternative Comics, 1980-2000: Raw, Weirdo, and Beyond” and “Arnie Jarmak: Photographing Chelsea in Transition, 1977-89.”
The first exhibit is housed on the second floor of the museum, featuring a selection of comics from anthologies across multiple decades. It centers around two main bodies of work: Raw (edited by Art Spiegelman) and its more lowbrow counterpoint Weirdo (edited by Robert Crumb). The exhibition explores the influence of the alternative graphic novel scene, which birthed acclaimed works such as Maus, and slowly gained legitimacy over the course of the latter 20th century. All the comics on display are original pieces from renowned artists like Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel.
The third floor gallery will hold the second exhibition, displaying over 75 photographs from photojournalist Arnie Jarmak’s work in the Chelsea Record, a daily newspaper in Boston’s Chelsea neighborhood, from throughout the '80s. His pieces explore the countless social factors that influenced Chelsea during the 20th century. Corrupt politicians, housing fires, and immigrants are all subjects of Jarmak’s work. The power of image alone as shown through these striking images is a must-see.
Aside from these new exhibitions, students can also see live performances from the Common Tones, the Sharps, F.I.S.T.S., and Music Guild. Whether you’re into visual art or music, this Art After Dark will showcase whatever you’re looking for. Continuing with the '80s theme, the museum terrace will be showing iconic films of the decade like Beetlejuice while students can play vintage board games such as Top Gun, Mouse Trap, and Girl Talk.
The night won’t just be about looking at art, though. Accompanying the exhibitions will be a variety of crafts open to students such as bracelets, duct tape wallets, and lanyards. Students will even be able to decorate their own wall clock with the McMullen’s new giant spin-art machines.
Though art remains at the center of McMullen’s mission, this semester will see the museum reignite its purpose as a center for community at Boston College. No matter your background or interests, McMullen’s Art After Dark celebration invites all students to take advantage of everything the museum has to offer.