The Cleveland Museum of Art has been a gem for some time. With the current renovation and expansion, the past few years have been a little rough in a “pardon our dust” kind of way. Now most of the work is done and the Museum is bathing in a new glow. Literally.
I like mixed architecture, taking the beauty of old stone buildings and adding the sleekness of glass. The drawings and mock-ups of the Atrium intrigued me when I first saw them, but they didn’t come close to the marvel of the results. I’m in love with the Atrium.
The vast light, even on cloudy days, exudes openness. Smells and chatter waft near the cafe and restaurant. Grab some food and find a table in the Atrium and all your senses will be engaged at once. Perfect way to get in an artsy mood.
Speaking of food, the new cafe menu is pretty nice. For one, you can buy a small bottle of wine. The food has a bistro-like quality, relaxed but not fast food. I had a claybread sandwich with grilled chicken, cucumber salad, hummus and harissa served with garlic fries.
Then, of course, there is the same magnificent collection that has distinguished the Museum for years…
One of my favorite new parts is the Glass Box. More light and the play of layers of glass, almost like an animation cel. Inside, there’s a weird feeling that you somehow become part of the exhibit as passing cars outside and passing tour groups inside look at you with odd expressions.
Perhaps most impressive is what the Museum is doing to rinnovate (yes, I just made that word up) art education. The ArtLens app has received good press, along with the interactive Gallery One. Based on initial reactions, the integration of technology is getting our tech-savvy society excited to learn about the works.
Another learning opportunity is the Focus Gallery, currently showing Picasso’s La Vie. The gallery explores the painting in relation to Picasso’s life at the time. By looking at the painting in that way, we can better understand and appreciate the painting. I’m excited to see what other works will be featured here.
All the changes, through the growing pains of the construction, have made for a better, more enjoyable museum. It is a reminder of what makes Cleveland great. Oh, and its free.
The dust is clearing at the Museum, revealing the diamond underneath.