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Online Now: My WSJ Piece on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Expansion

You can read today’s Wall Street Journal “Leisure & Arts” piece now—Virginia is For Art Lovers, about the well articulated Rick Mather-designed expansion of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The photo accompanying the piece, also published on the VMFA’s website, makes the atrium appear more barren than it feels when in use:


Just add people (and more sculpture, soon to be installed). Here’s a view from essentially the same angle as the WSJ-published photo, taken by me during the well-attended members preview, two days before the public opening (for which the bandstand, below the temporarily purple-lit wall, was added for the members party):


To the right in the above photo is a view into the ancient art galleries, anchored by a Roman marble sarcophagus, ca. 150 A.D., aflutter with Cupid-like boys.

Below is the Sol Lewitt floor piece, “Splotch #22,” 2007, installed at one end of the atrium and temporarily fenced in, to protect it from opening-day crowds:


At the other end of the atrium is a Barry Flanagan “Large Leaping Hare” (silhouetted at the far end in the WSJ-published photo). In July, pieces by ceramicist Jun Kaneko will be installed in the atrium and in the nascent sculpture garden, as part of the temporary exhibition (July 17-Dec. 12) of the Japanese-American artist’s work, organized by John Ravenal, the VMFA’s curator of modern and contemporary art.

There’s also a new candy-colored commission in the entrance hall, above one of two entrances to the museum shop—a 32-foot-long, 16-panel mural of pictograms using 200 images from the museum’s own art, by Virginia-born artist Ryan McGinness:


COMING SOON: More images to illustrate my WSJ piece, as well as additional commentary (some of it, of course, irreverent).

an ArtsJournal blog