Cleveland Convention and Visitors — 2010_2011 Fall_Winter
Change Language:
New Perspectives
By John Booth

The phrase “everything old is new again” takes on incredible, new meaning when you explore the impressive latest step in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s ( ongoing expansion and renovation.

After five years in storage, the Museum’s collections from the ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, Egypt and Africa join works from the Byzantine Empire and the European Middle Ages and trace cultures and traditions whose roots go back 5,000 years. Within the new 16,000-square-foot suite of 17 galleries, a fantastic journey–experienced through 900 pieces of art–awaits..
“Objects are organized thematically to foster awareness of and promote insights into their function and meaning for the cultures that produced them,” says museum spokesperson Caroline Guscott.

Previously displayed in various buildings, the collections can now be seen almost as chapters in an ongoing story.

“For the first time, the museum’s sub-Saharan African collections are displayed in spaces contiguous to the galleries of ancient Egyptian art so that the works produced on the African continent can be seen and studied together,” Guscott explains.“Surrounding galleries are connected by larger cultural and historical arcs, allowing visitors to move from the burgeoning civilizations of the ancient Near East to the seafaring culture of the Greek world and the rise of the Roman Empire.” Adjoining galleries hold Byzantine and western medieval art.

Iconic treasures like Statuette of a Woman: The Stargazer, c. 3000 BC (the Museum’s earliest sculpture of a human figure) and the life-size bronze statue of the Apollo Sauroktonos call the new galleries home, but there are smaller gems to be found here too.The 3,400-year-old Paint Box of Vizier Amenemope, for instance, displays the actual pigments used by a government official who liked to sketch for recreation, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of people from ancient times.

Along with the new space comes the debut of the free Art Conversations audio tour in which museum professionals, local artists and other experts highlight some of the works. Through players available at the ticket counters or by simply accessing mobile links via smartphone, visitors can listen to narratives that add even more life to the works on display and connect the art of these remote cultures with contemporary life.

Discover the distant past, today’s technology and a story that keeps unfolding at the Cleveland Museum of Art.