The past few months have been a flurry of activity here at CMA. We’ve moved our offices into the newly renovated Beaton Hall, opened our wonderful Chihuly Illuminated exhibition, and begun the process of renovating our historic Broad Street building.
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago with Dominique H. Vasseur, our European curator, and had a wonderful time exploring their new spaces and learning more about some of the exciting changes they’ve implemented.
In May of this year, the Art Institute inaugurated its Modern Wing, a 264,00-square-foot Renzo Piano-designed addition. The Modern Wing, the largest expansion project in the museum’s history, increased the museum’s size to more than a million square feet, making it the second largest art museum in the United States. Click here to read more about the project.
The opening of the Modern Wing has provided them with the opportunity to reinstall the rest of the permanent collection in new and exciting ways. They’ve moved toward monographic hangs in which a number of works by the same artist are displayed together, which allow the visitor to gain a much deeper understanding of the artist and their work. For example, one wall was hung with several paintings from Monet’s Haystack series. Below is a picture I took of Griffin Court, the central court of the Modern Wing.
We were able to meet with David Stark, Vice Director of Education, who gave us a tour of their wonderful new education spaces and classrooms. We also met with James Yood, a professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Mr. Yood will be speaking here at CMA on Sunday, November 22 at 2:00 PM about Dale Chihuly’s work in the context of other contemporary artists who sculpt glass and make use of light.
James was kind enough to take us up to the 12th floor of the art school where we could look down and see the full scope of the campus. It was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful way to be able to appreciate what James talks about as this conversation between the Classicism of the museum and the sort of wildness of the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion located in Millennium Park.
There are so many wonderful and exciting things happening at the museum. Through January 31, 2010, they have an extraordinary painting by Caravaggio on display from The National Gallery in London. Titled The Supper at Emmaus, was created in 1601 for Ciriaco Mattei, a nobleman with one of the greatest collections of art in Rome. They’ve hung the painting in one of their permanent galleries and peppered some of the surrounding galleries with Caravaggio works from their own collection. It’s almost like embarking on a pilgrimage (and one well worth the effort) to see this stunning piece.
Venturing out into Millennium Park, we were able to see A Conversation with Chicago: Contemporary Sculpture From China, which is up through October of next year and features several large-scale sculpture. Below are some pictures from that wonderful exhibition as well as some of Cloud Gate, British artist Anish Kappor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States, often referred to as “The Bean” because of it’s unique shape.
The trip was energizing and helped to fuel my excitement about our own renovation and expansion project.
Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.
CMA Executive Director