Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Cleveland’s Museum of Art. Housed in a grand old Beaux Arts style building overlooking vast grounds including a duck pond, orchard, lawn, and fountain, the museum is the repository of some of my fondest memories. From making cement animals with Mr. Maars, to my later stint as an intern and teacher’s aide in those same art classes, I can still close my eyes and picture just about every gallery perfectly: the floorplan of the museum unfolding in my head. It’s a soothing memory—not just specific incidents, but the museum itself.

Now, the museum is undergoing its second expansion in it’s almost century-long life. And while I am mostly excited, I am also nervous…its like my memories are being retrofitted. The architect, Rafael Vinoly, is visually building on the expansion that took place in 1971 under architect Marcel Breuer. Horizontal granite stripes play off of the classical structure in a way that has always made me think of a sailor’s shirt against a suit. I am not sure if it is entirely effective, but it is so deeply ingrained in my sense of that place that it is gratifying to see the nod towards the original expansion...which makes it hard to be objective.

So, I will be in Cleveland for the grand re-opening. I will try to post...but we all know how vacation blogging seems to fall by the wayside.

*images "courtesy" The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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