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Art of Sicily comes to Cleveland

2013 November 17
by Matt

A few days ago I made it out to the Cleveland Museum of Art for Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome. As it doesn’t look like I’ll be entertaining visitors between now and the exhibit’s January 5 closing, and as I needed to do a bit more research for my next book, I took advantage of a relatively quiet day and some nice late Autumn weather to go have a look.

The exhibit is nice. I’m very pleased that more moderate counsels prevailed, after an attempt to “alter the terms of the deal” nearly derailed these artifacts’ trip to Cleveland. Between this, and Mike & Frank‘s recent expedition to the island, I think Sicily comes out looking like quite an appealing destination to the cultured middle American fwiw.

I don’t know that I will have opportunity to drop in any time soon, myself, but again I am very glad we could enjoy this small sample of the land’s cultural patrimony here at the CMA. It’s a modest exhibit in size, without much flab, but I think it was certainly worth the admission price. Just about every item is interesting, and without room after room to take into account, I was able to take my time studying each object, reading everything and listening to the audioguide material. Plus flipping through the splendid companion book that I wouldn’t mind picking up second-hand some day. (Sixty dollars seemed a bit much.)

Meanwhile, the Museum as a whole looks magnificent as its years-long expansion and renovation draw to a close. I confess that I will miss the old courtyard, which seems to have been sacrificed to the new plan; on a perfect summer day there was nothing better than sitting in that courtyard in the dappled light beneath the trees. The new glass-roofed atrium that replaces it is a breathtaking space, however. And there is such a great collection of material, even more of which can now be displayed than ever before; a few more rooms are still to open in January including a Himalayan gallery. Yes, our art museum is that amazing.

One final note: as the weather was good and I remain curious, I decided to bike down to the train station and take the Rapid Line out to University Circle. I don’t think the argument is quite as good as that for traveling downtown; I was cash-ahead without paying for UC parking but given the long hike from the station to the museum the trip became almost absurdly long. As it was a fine day, the walk and bike ride were not particularly objectionable, but I believe that if I go back in January or February, e.g., I’ll probably just drive. Ah well.

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