Some centenarians do age well – like the Cleveland Museum of Art, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
The museum’s been added on to in its century of existence, but the original marble Beaux-Arts building remains, itself serving as a sort of display piece in the atrium of the museum.
The collection covers a lot of ground, from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi up nearly to the present day, and they’ve had some fun with it lately, sharing photos on social media of the works showing their support for the Cleveland Indians in the World Series (their counterpart in Chicago has done the same thing in a friendly rivalry).
The piece de resistance of the museum is probably the armor room, with everything from chain mail to weapons, most coming from the purchase of a collection in the museum’s first year, 1916. It’s definitely a showstopper.
My favorite painting was “Stag at Sharkey’s” by George Bellows, a Columbus native known for his paintings of early 20th century urban life. Two boxers fight at an athletic club in New York City, and I felt like I was in the crowd watching (by design; Bellows intentionally painted with a low point of view to make it look like the view is from the audience).
My daughter was enrapt by Monet’s “Waterlilies,” a French impressionist masterpiece. On an adjacent wall is a series of paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.
I also got a big kick out of the Pop Art exhibit, which included Little Big Painting by Roy Lichtenstein (one of the paintings on loan to the museum for its centennial) and a series of Marilyn Monroe silkscreens by Andy Warhol.
The museum is one-stop shopping, featuring a food court with a variety of options. You’re also not far from Cleveland’s Little Italy, for a slice of pizza (our lunch the day we went) or more formal dining options.
In addition to having art on display, the museum offers a variety of programming. There are regular lectures scheduled until the end of the year on the pieces on display that are on loan from other museums, and the museum just announced its latest film series, devoted to movies by Sidney Lumet (“Prince of the City,” in my opinion, is an underrated classic).