Cleveland Museum of Art's new East Wing provides expansive collection of modern, classic artwork
Issue date: 9/4/09 Section: Focus
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Open to the public since mid-June, the museum's East Wing is quite large and even intimidating. It contrasts the Personal Collection in that it features a wider range of artistic styles, mediums, and room themes. For example, Geometric Abstraction in Western Art most likely would not have been featured among the Reformation artwork of the personal collection.
Stepping into each room of the East Wing is like stepping into a different artistic movement, where unconventional art forms are not uncommon. For example, the contemporary art (1990s-present) room features Su-Mei Tse's Mistelpartition, which consists of an extremely large video projection screen with Shostakovich's "Cello Concert #1 in E Flat Major" playing over a scene of moving trees. Directly to the left of this piece is a room of portraiture, featuring the photography that spanned various cultures. One noteworthy piece is an amusing photograph, taken by Irving Penn in 1972, of Woody Allen dressed and posing as Charlie Chaplin. It is such dramatic transitions between pieces that keep visitors from boredom. Some works manage to incorporate several disciplines, such as Weems' Untitled (Kitchen Table Series), which blends art, history, poetry, and photography.
Another attractive aspect of the East Wing is the Figurative Trends & Pop Art Gallery. The Pop Art gallery is funky in its own right, featuring a bright life-size model of an open tube of toothpaste in the center of the room. Yet the most intriguing piece is probably Andy Warhol's original screenprint Marilyn x 100, which takes up an entire wall in itself.