Working out is difficult in the winter months, but not for the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM)! They've tightened their belt, flexed their muscle, and are offering us a glimpse of their core strength (pun intended).
What I mean to suggest is that through their fresh, new display they are privileging their highlights and giving us a view of their strengths, the reasons their permanent collection is regionally premiere.
Senior art majors and some of their friends and family visited the CAM on Sunday afternoon to take in the art and were in for a real treat. The Emma Louise Schmidlapp Wing, designed by noted Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham (think 1893 World's Fair!), had been closed for the summer. It's open now and is no longer a Doric-columned parade of ancient and classical civilizations. The corridor that formerly housed numerous Greek, Roman, and Egyptian objects along with an appetizer of modern and contemporary acquisitions has changed -- for the better. It's got core strength -- and by that I mean HIGHLIGHTS from the entire museum.
Behind graduation-tasseled-pods visitors can encounter a singular (or pair of related works) closely. These viewing areas stretch the length of the Schmidlapp Wing, featuring more two dozen major works from key areas comprising the museum's collections: Warhol, Matisse, Avedon are given private, almost peep-show treatment, just as Gainsborough, Flemish panel painters, Duveneck, and an Egyptian mummy are privileged. This new look is intimate, inviting, and absorbing. It encourages quiet, focused study and concentration on singular objects.
But this isn't the only change in the main corridor. Some of the ancient works from the classical civilizations and Egypt will be re-installed in a newly-created gallery upstairs called The Collections: 6,000 Years of Art. The space (and, maybe, even the core strength corridor on the first level?) will incorporate educative features as well. This space will be open later this fall (it was still under wraps when we visited on Sunday).
If you have the opportunity to visit the CAM over break, please do! The museum is free (bargain) parking is $4.00 (bargain!) but you get that for free as well if you spend $10 in the cafe or $15 in the gift shop. Go----See-----Art, become inspired or learn something knew, and share your passion with friends and family.