Sunday, February 6, 2011

Traveling to Cleveland frequently has allowed me to watch the slow-walking, magnificently staged re-opening of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The $350 million dollar renovation, the relayed marathon of three previous museum directors now handed to recently appointed David Franklin can not be underestimated. A complete campus re-imagination has been led by architect Rafael Vinoly.

And CMA is free, as its original facade shouts. FR EE

This juxtaposition symbolizes the museums’ adaptability -- the most important word in a recession, 16’ high bracketing its imposing 1916 neoclassical facade.

Galleries first reopened in 2008 were a distance from the entry. Visitors were required to traverse half the museum’s basement level, which could have been a real downer. Instead, museum meisters lined the doors and walkways with information and

life-size images of what was behind. The unheralded workers of the museum see their work celebrated --conservation, education, registrar -- and visitors learn about the work. Brilliant and an exampleof the museum’s transparency.

What I really love about CMA is the object labels. They are long! The curators respect their audience and provide complex information about artists, sitters, technique, medium, place, provenance, and much more. People in Cleveland read.

Vinoly’s Design will unite the old and new buildings under a high flying roof that will undoubtedly become Cleveland’s 21st Century meeting magnet. Every time I look, I see more!

Rafael Vinoly

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