There’s a French expression that says “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” which most Americans know as “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, I can tell you unequivocally that there are big changes going on at the CMA and that things are not going to be the same. The most visible change for those who know us is that, in preparation for the major renovation of our 1931 building (the one that faces Broad Street), we are reconfiguring the Museum Drive Lobby (that’s the north side of the museum that faces our parking lot). All of the great books that David Tweet, our Museum Store manager selects for us have been moved out of the big lobby niche and put into the main Store area. The formerly free-standing museum admissions desk will be moving into the book niche, thereby increasing lobby space for larger gatherings. The walls of the Lobby are being clad in dry-wall, painted, and hung with a selection works from our permanent collection that will include a Monet, Corot, Bellows, Bierstadt, Ann Hamilton, and others.
While our historic 1931 building is under renovation, other permanent collection works will be installed on the stairwell landings and in the spaces outside the final gallery of the “Chihuly Illuminated” exhibition. Our visitors will have the chance to see some of their favorite paintings along with a great early Dan Flavin light piece that has not been on view in a number of years and a George Segal installation that is on loan to us. All in all, the changes will bode well for things to come and the results will be a beautiful, renovated original building along with a new and fascinating reinstallation of our permanent collection, the plans for which the Curators and Educators are already working on. Definitely, things will not be “la même chose” so stay tuned for great changes equaling great experiences with great art at the CMA.
Dominique H. Vasseur
Curator of European Art