by Sam Scott
If you didn’t make it to Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Cleveland Museum of Art this past December and January, I am genuinely sorry. I apologize because it was absolutely outstanding…beautiful…literally so breathtaking there are no words to describe the feeling of awe and weepiness I felt staring at the masterful works of French impressionists. In the words of Scott Parsons, “What I loved about it is you take this super narrow focus, and the art allows you to go deep with it. Even within the first gallery you sense the radically different artistic visions and I like that. A wide range of artists at a very specific moment in time all finding these totally distinctive ways to represent reality and their relationships and how they experience relationships. Go art museum!” Honestly, enough said.
This exhibit, focusing on the enchanting gardens that inspired impressionists, only made two stops: one at the Cleveland Museum of Art and one at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. And if the sheer exclusivity of having an exhibit of extreme notoriety in our hometown wasn’t enough, this exhibit was also part of the museum’s centennial celebration. If you missed Panting the Modern Garden you’re in luck because there are still 10 full months of exciting events and activities. Some of the centennial exhibitions include Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt from March 13 through June 12 consisting of a large variety of astounding Egyptian works from the British Museum and the CMA’s extensive permanent collection, Stag at Sharkey’s: George Bellows and the Art of Sports from May 14 through September 18, and Art and Stories from Mughal India from July 31 through October 23, one of the major Indian painting collections constructed in the 20th century. In total, there are seven centennial exhibitions along with a myriad of exceptional centennial loans from other art museums and collections. More information can be found on the museum’s website (http://www.clevelandart.org/centennial).
The celebration for the CMA’s 100th birthday doesn’t stop at extraordinary art. On Tuesday June 7th, The museum will host its official birthday party and you’re all invited! There will be day-long special programs, group photo opportunities, and cake, with no reservation required. And if that wasn’t enough, the festivities will continue a few weeks later with the Centennial Festival Weekend, a two-day music and arts festival on Saturday June 25-Sunday June 26. Inside the museum there will be tours, music, and surprises, while outside, around Wade Lagoon, local artists will be creating original works. On Saturday evening, the annual summer Solstice party will take place and the festival will conclude with a Centennial Celebration Concert by the Cleveland Orchestra on Sunday. Tickets are required for the Solstice party, but all other events are free and open to the public.
I just broke the surface of centennial celebrations the CMA has planned. There are even more events than mentioned above. I encourage everyone and anyone to take part in the festivities that celebrate the 100th birthday of a remarkable and world-renowned Cleveland institution responsible for providing the city and its community members with priceless pride and joy. Go art museum!!!!!