To start 2011 off with some culture my husband I visited the reopening of the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) on New Year’s Day. We had been there before but the reopening was enough to spur renewed interest and we were excited to learn that Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis was on display until January 16, 2011. Although the day turned out to be wet and dreary we were not put off to spend the morning walking the halls of a museum and were promptly posted outside the doors when they opened at 10AM.
As it turns out, the redesign has turned the majority of the first floor into what is now the Center for Creativity. I believe this is a success for CMA as we found opening day filled with as many families as if we had visited the Center for Science and Industry (COSI) famous for its interactive exhibits. Families now have a new place to take their children and expand their minds. Disappointing is that adults without children now have half the art as before available to them as CMA is not a large museum by any means. On previous visits it would take hours to tour the building and absorb the artwork that was displayed. Sadly, we found ourselves finished touring in just over an hour and that was with a stop in the gift shop.
While the exhibits have decreased and still include some wastes of good space – such as the cardboard box nailed to the wall or the single fluorescent lightbulb, neither of which you’ll ever convince me should be classified as art nor hung in a museum – there were some truly stunning pieces that should not be missed. The ones that my husband and I found ourselves staring at in awe included:
- Memories of Acheres (Souvenir d’Achegraveres) – Jean-Léon Gérôme – http://www.jeanleongerome.org
- Winter, Midnight by Frederick Childe Hassam
- Trees in Winter, View of Bennecourt by Claude Monet
- The Tilted Chair by William Wegman
- Mississippi Noah by John Steuart Curry
- Autumn Leaves by Georgia O’Keeffe
While I’m sure many will find the CMA’s redesign a wonderful success, I was less than won over by the revisions. I found both the CMA’s web site (columbusmuseum.org) lacking as well as their facilities for the handicapped. The web site did not provide any education or reference links for most of the artists on display currently and the restrooms were completely unsuitable for anyone in a motorized wheelchair. I understand that they have redesigned the museum to be more appealing to families and children but I think that the museum has not yet reached its goal.
Columbus Museum of Art’s mission is to create great experiences with great art for everyone.