A recent visit to the Cornell University Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art was even better than usual. A grand opening of the newly constructed wing made it difficult to park anywhere, but any inconvenience was well worth the hassle. New exhibits, a new lecture hall, a new garden, an acappella group of Cornell students and a wonderful buffet of savory and sweet snacks ushered in the first public viewing of the long awaited new space at the museum.
Friends and family who visit us are always happy to visit this small but impressive collection of art. Asian-Pacific, African, American, European, Contemporary, Prints, Drawings, Photographs, Videos and Decorative Arts are all represented in this museum. In addition to the wonderful collections and changing exhibits, the architecture of both the original and new buildings provides the museum goer with an extraordinary view of the surrounding landscapes through the many windows on the upper floors. A rooftop terrace, in good weather, allows you to take in the wonderful Cornell campus architecture and landscaping. Old buildings are everywhere among beautiful trees and lawns. Newer architecture seems to pop up in the panorama, but for me the attraction has always been the old beauties that fit my stereotype of what every university campus should look like.
While viewing the wonderful Asian collection it is difficult to ignore the outside view. On this most recent visit I managed to get some photos through the window with no flash. The new wing and temporary shows do not permit photography, however the permanent collections on the upper floors do, as long as there is no flash involved. For what seems like a very long time the weather has been damp and cloudy. The museum visit day was no exception. Fall foliage almost at peak color provided a more vibrant background to the otherwise gray day. My watercolor painting somewhat reflects the overcast light . The usual deep shadows cast in bright sunlight were nowhere to be found. Hopefully the composition looking down to the road and garden below will make up for the lack of lighting contrast I would prefer. The juxtaposition of angular outlines of rooftops, sidewalks and steps with the curvilinear landscape forms seemed to create some visual interest and contrast of its own. The lake view has a magic all its own. Did I mention this gem of a museum is always free?