Long On Art, Short On Space

Harvard University’s art collection is the envy of museums worldwide, comprising more than 250,000 pieces. But having that much art is one thing: finding the space to display, or even to store it all is another matter entirely. For the recently arrived chief of the university’s museum system, keeping the collection intact and secure is becoming a major challenge, especially with much of the available gallery space in desperate need of new climate-control technology and other upgrades.

Is Architecture A Red Herring In The Ground Zero Debate?

The struggle to rebuild Ground Zero has frequently been portrayed as a clash between a visionary architect and a powerful New York developer, but “Philip Nobel argues that our obsession with the architect-as-healer has led us to ignore more important, if less emotionally appealing, questions about ground zero: How should the site be used? How much focus should there be on office space, on cultural space, on a memorial? In giving aesthetic speculations more weight than material concerns in our critical and public discussions, he says, we have virtually guaranteed that the site will end up looking like every other New York real estate development.”

A Connecticut Renaissance

Greenwich, Connecticut “is the last place… that you would expect to find a major Vermeer on loan from Europe, or several roomfuls of works by Rubens – or, for that matter, hard-core Manhattanites on an art pilgrimage.” But in the last four years, Greenwich’s Bruce Museum of Art & Science has transformed itself into a major player in the East Coast art scene, under the stewardship of director Peter Sutton, who has mounted high-profile exhibits previously though to be beyond the Bruce’s reach. “At the same time, playing on Greenwich’s reputation for private wealth, he has provocatively embraced the art market, organizing exhibitions showcasing high-end private art collections – and even artworks currently for sale.”

Report: Kimmel Center Needs Acoustic Overhaul

Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has been open for less than four years, but an internal report by the acoustic engineer of Verizon Hall, the center’s main stage and the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, suggests that a major interior renovation will likely be necessary to fix what are described as “serious acoustical problems.” The hall has received mixed reviews from critics since its opening, but the concept of a major renovation is likely to face opposition, and debate has not even begun about who would pay for such a project.

Strathmore Concert Hall Sets A New Suburban Standard

” Most serious concert halls can be found in big cities. That’s where the audiences are; that’s where orchestras tend to make their homes. The Music Center at Strathmore, which opens Saturday in Montgomery County, [Maryland], is a rare exception… From the beginning, its designers set out to demonstrate that a suburban concert hall can be just as successful as its urban counterparts, in serving audiences and performers, and in showcasing classical music…From the standpoint of architectural design and construction, this music center measures up to the finest concert halls of the past 20 years – warm, intimate, visually sumptuous.”

And It Sounds Pretty Good, Too

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been test-driving the new Strathmore concert hall for several weeks, and so far, everyone seems to be thrilled with the acoustic. “It’s too soon to know the extent of long-range public relations or financial benefits the BSO will accrue from having an additional performance venue. But, on purely artistic grounds, Strathmore, opening Saturday, looks – and sounds – like a can’t-lose prospect.”