Three Museums in Cincinnati

Sunday I explored 3 museums in Cincinnati:

The Cincinnati Art Museum – is a wonderful collection of art, on par with state art museums around the country. It does a terrific job of bringing art to the city (it’s actually one of the oldest in the country) – like many art museums using a sort of checklist  approach to showing work: a cycladic statue, check; an Egyptian sarcophogus, check; a Monet, check; a Picasso, check; a Rodin, a Calder, a Roman this, a Greek that – check, check, check & check.

It does what it sets out to do and so I find no fault – I do especially like that it places emphasis on the rich history of art from the region with it’s Cincinnati Wing. This addition, opened in 2003 and includes the “Cincinnati Painters” and also Rookwood pottery, along with glass, metalworks and furniture.  There are beautiful examples of work by John H. Twachtman, Joseph H. Sharp, Frank Duveneck, and Henry Farny and many others – Cincinnati was one of the foremost art centers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

During this trip, I was happy to get to see a new statue installed this past Spring out front: Jim Dine’s Pinocchio (Emotional) – a 12 foot bronze greeting visitors upon the approach to the museum. His work was also featured prominently in an exhibit, In Celebration of Pinocchio with hometown artists including Jim Dine, Casey Rioden Millard, Mark Fox, Jay Bolotin and Will Hutchinson.

The Taft Museum of Art – This 1820’s house on a hill was donated to the city by the Tafts. Charles Taft and his wife Anna Sinton Taft were brother and sister-in-law to President WIlliam Howard Taft. Their collection of art, bequeathed to the city, includes Eurpoean and American master paintings, Chinese porcelains and European decorative arts – there are works by Rembrandt, Hals, Goya, Gainsborough, Turner, Ingres, Whistler and Sargent.

While I was there I enjoyed the collection and also 2 special exhibits. The first was Mathew Albritton’s photography in Ohio to the White House  – a look at the brithplaces and childhood homes of seven presidents.  The second, al look at the collection of French paintings on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum in the exhibit Old Masters to Impressionists. Additionally, the city was celebrating it’s 80th anniversary of the museum with an exhibit of 80 reproductions from the collection placed throughout the Cincinnati Valley.

The Contemporary Arts Center – This striking 6-story jig-saw puzzle of a building designed by Zaha Hadid opened in 2003. It is a non-collecting museum dedicated to presenting contemporary ideas from around the world. – this time around I saw Jannis Varelas’ Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep, Francis Upritchard’s A Long Wait, and Spectacle: The Music Video.

Art for All, Taft Museum
Taft Museum

The Captive, by Henry F Farny 1885 at Cincinnati Art Museum

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