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1964 Studebaker Avanti

Richard Vaux is the owner of the 1964 Studebaker Avanti parked in the Liberty Street Atrium at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. The Avanti, designed by Raymond Loewy, is the first of many artworks featured in the exhibition California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way.

The Avanti and the show will be on view at PEM through July 6, 2014.

FreePort [No. 007]: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot produces music in surprising and unexpected ways through large-scale acoustic environments. Boursier-Mougenot's immersive sonic installation, from here to ear, introduces a flock of 70 brightly plumed Zebra Finches to a PEM's own gallery-turned-aviary. The birds live among iconic Gibson Les Paul and Thunderbird bass guitars. At turns ambient and melodic, a constantly changing soundscape emerges as the finches explore their environment, eating, nesting and perching on the amplified instruments. This boundary-breaking exhibition asks us to consider the way we perceive, create and interact with music while challenging traditional notions of artistic collaboration.

Toshio Shibata: Constructed Landscapes

One of Japan's preeminent landscape photographers, Toshio Shibata is known for exploring the delicate balance between human-made structures and nature. Photographing erosion control barriers, water catchments, roads, dams and bridges, he examines the unique appearance of such structures in his native land. Through his lens, riverbeds can look like origami, and waterfalls resemble kimono.


This exhibition of 28 large-format works will be the artist's first solo show in an American museum since 1995 and the first time his color pictures will be shown in America.

Shibata was recently featured in a two-person show at the National Arts Center, Tokyo, and in a solo retrospective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum.


Made possible by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

FreePort [No. 006]: Nick Cave

A massive video wall glows with colorful creatures dancing in a white void. "Drive-By", a video by artist Nick Cave, is featured as part of PEM's FreePort [No. 006]. In a sit down interview at PEM, Cave discusses the transformation that occurs when performing in these costume creations, known as "Soundsuits."

FreePort [No. 006]: Nick Cave is on view at PEM through May 27, 2013. Check out Nick Cave's Soundsuits in action during a live performance on April 18, 2013 at PEM/PM, PEM's evening party series. For more info, visit

Generous support provided by Fay Chandler. Additional support provided by donors to the 2013 FreePort Fund including Terry and Dick Albright and Jeffrey P. Beale and by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

FreePort [No. 006]: Nick Cave's Inspiration and Process

What compels Nick Cave to make art? How does he build his magnificent creations? In this video, PEM visits Cave's Chicago studio to talk with the artist and to watch Soundsuits being built for the museum's FreePort [No. 006]. These Soundsuits will be on view at PEM through May 27, 2013.

Music created by Forrest James
Find him on Bandcamp
Find him on Soundcloud


Generous support provided by Fay Chandler. Additional support provided by donors to the 2013 FreePort Fund including Terry and Dick Albright and Jeffrey P. Beale and by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Experience PEM!
Peabody Essex Museum
The Curwen Bed Hanging Project Video (9 minutes)
Peabody Essex Museum, 2012
Unbound: Highlights from the Phillips Library

In this video, Sidney Berger, The Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library, talks about three very different books that are on view in the exhibition Unbound: Highlights from the Phillips Library at PEM. These volumes, as well as many other rare books and objects, delight the eye and tell powerful stories. Unbound is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum from November 12, 2011 through July 15, 2012.

FreePort [No. 005]: Time-Lapse in the Mellon Staircase

PEM's FreePort [No. 005] team paints Michael Lin's vivid armorial silhouettes on the Mellon Staircase and Galleries. This time-lapse video captures the complex five-week process in more than 1,500 photographs!

FreePort [No.005]: Meet Michael Lin

In an interview recorded at PEM in 2010, Michael Lin discusses his practice of appropriating floral patterns to create large-scale, public artworks that challenge the conventions of exhibition.

FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin

In Michael Lin's FreePort project, PEM's renowned collection of Asian export art is in conversation with Lin's vision of a not-too-distant reality, where the ancient art of export porcelain is seen anew as the crafting of "mass-produced, everyday objects."

FreePort [No.004]: 'Shipbreaking'
Peabody Essex Museum, 2012

Filmmaker Peter Hutton and model maker Michael Wall discuss the inspiration for Shipbreaking, a one-of-a-kind ship model created for FreePort [no.004]. The model reflects the ship salvaging activities seen in Peter Hutton's 2007 film  At Sea. This model and Peter Hutton's film are on view in PEM's Putnam Gallery through June 30, 2012.

FreePort [No.004]: Peter Hutton's 'Two Rivers'
Peabody Essex Museum, 2011

Peter Hutton's first contribution to FreePort no.004 is Two Rivers. Seen for the first time in public in a dual-screen presentation, Two Rivers takes us on two simultaneous voyages- the Hudson River in New York and the Yangtze River in China.

FreePort [No. 003]: Susan Philipsz 'If I With You Would Go'
Peabody Essex Museum, 2011

Susan Philipsz is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize - an annual award bestowed on the best contemporary British artist under age 50. In this artist interview filmed at PEM in 2011, Philipsz talks about If I With You Would Go, her original, site-specific sound installation in PEM's East India Marine Hall. 

This artwork is featured as part of PEM's FreePort project, an ongoing initiative that brings living artists into a unique dialogue with PEM and its audiences. Check our exhibition page for FreePort works on display today.

Images of Francis Child and his collection of ballads have been provided by the Houghton Library at Harvard University.

FreePort [No. 002]: Marianne Mueller's 'Any House Is a Home'
Peabody Essex Museum, 2011

Swiss artist Marianne Mueller looks back at her contribution to PEM's FreePort project Any House Is a Home. In her exhibition, objects and images from PEM's collection merge and mingle with images of Salem and with Mueller’s own work to create a contemporary conversation that is colorful and complex. The installation is on view in PEM's Photography Gallery through early 2012. Don't miss it!

Boudewijn Zwart, Westerkerk Carilloneur
Peabody Essex Museum 2011

Visit PEM's YouTube channel to hear Boudewijn Zwart play complete musical arrangements by Bach, Led Zeppelin, Philip Glass and others.


Find out about Jan van der Heyden's painting, View of the Westerkerk, by visiting PEM's exhibition page for Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. While exploring the exhibition, download free carillon bell ringtones for your mobile phone and re-create your own carillon with our free sample library.





Moshe Safdie
World-renowned architect, urban planner

Moshe Safdie designed the imaginative glass and brick building expansion for
PEM in 2003 to reflect Salem’s architectural history with contemporary
flair. The result weaves together a building of many parts into a seamless,
inspired structure for viewing art and culture from around the world.
The dramatic Atrium with a soaring glass roof is the central gathering
place, akin to the traditional village green. The curved glass of the roof
allows natural light into the Atrium, creating an airy space and walkways
that lead visitors into galleries, the Art Studios and the performance
center in Morse Auditorium. Five diverse roof silhouettes or “buildings”
that comprise the outer brick wall echo the shapes and forms of local
Safdie’s expansive portfolio includes the ArtScience Museum in Singapore,
the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Children’s Memorial at the Yad
Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, Habitat ‘67 experimental
housing in Montreal, and the United States Courthouse in Springfield, Mass.
To watch Safdie talk about his vision for the PEM expansion, click here.
For a closer look at Safdie and his projects, visit

Sensational India! 2011
Peabody Essex Museum, April 2-3, 2011

Sensational India! honors PEM's longstanding relationship with India and features India's remarkable arts - visual art, dance and music. Ongoing art activities, gallery tours, storytelling and more.


Made possible in part by Samir and Nilima Desai; The Desai Family Foundation.



FreePort [No.001]: Charles Sandison's 'Figurehead'
Peabody Essex Museum, 2010-2011

Charles Sandison reflects on his installation for PEM's FreePort no.001


Sandison brings the East India Marine Hall into dazzling new light with 'Figurehead,' a writhing sea of handwritten words and drawings that twist and flow across the museum's historic East India Marine Hall. The projected words and images were gathered by Sandison while exploring ship logs and sailor's journals at PEM's own Phillips Library.


This installation is on view through April 24th, 2011. Don't miss it! For more information about FreePort, click on the Exhibitions tab at