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From the Arts Editor

By Rebecca Ostriker
Globe Staff / November 14, 2010

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We stood in the courtyard — a glass ceiling high over our heads, construction debris scattered across the vast space. We could imagine what it would ultimately look like: cafe tables here, sculptures there, museumgoers excitedly passing through the great doors into the new wing.

There was almost nothing on the walls during a visit to see the Museum of Fine Arts’ expansion last February. But ambition was visible everywhere. A decade in the works, with an astounding half a billion dollars raised for the project, it was finally coming together. We saw the graceful Alfond Auditorium, the period rooms taking shape, and galleries filling the Art of the Americas Wing, with spaces marked for paintings to be hung.

This magazine explores all that encompasses the MFA’s new wing, thanks to an inspired staff of writers, editors, designers, graphic artists, and one hyperenergetic Globe photographer.

David Ryan shot nearly every step in the creation of the wing. He was there when concrete slopped over workers’ yellow rubber boots as they poured the foundation, deep in a construction pit. He captured the new wing from a helicopter and from the street at night, when it glowed from within. He photographed so many artworks being installed that MFA staffers joked about setting up a cot for him. A blur of chatter and motion, he could almost be a performance-art piece himself.

This magazine was months in the making. It’s not quite the decade it took for the wing to be created. But as in the new MFA, there is a gem around every corner. Just turn the pages, and see what unfolds.

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