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September 23, 1987 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

its middle to connote specific,
not ancient, history-of Long
Beach itself, wherebountiful oil
finds were common in the last
century.
Surely Long Beach expects
the same international notori-
ety that attended Ohio State,
which may have motivated its
decision to pick Eisenman and
Robertson. Emory, Dartmouth
and Williams, while not averse
to the calls of publicity or glam-
our, have taken a more tradi-
tional route, with architects
well known for their loving
embrace-if not worship-of a
past defined in lyrical, roman-
tic terms, fully consonant with
the collections they house.
Graves's deft conversion of
a 70-year-old Emory landmark
classroom building into a soft, Buildin
glowing set of galleries and g
Moore's brilliant insertion of a
new museum into a tiny space between two
contradictory Dartmouth buildings both
won coveted awards this year from the
American Institute of Architects. Leaving
the exterior of the grand old structure al-
most intact, Graves poured his delicate in-
stincts for color and close-up detail into the
interior, where he crafted an exquisite
series of display cases for Emory's archeo-
logical treasures, framed in marble and
bird's-eye maple, as well as an extraordi-
nary curved stair leading up toward a radi-
ant, deep-blue ceiling.
Drawing cards: Moore managed the impos-
sible at Dartmouth by composing a grace-
fully complex museum that sinks down
into a courtyard between two totally
opposed buildings, one Romanesque, the
other modern. Moore's Hood Museum,
filled with generous ramps and
gateways over and around the
courtyard, draws well over
100,000 visitors annually to
see its broadly based collection
of ancient and modern art in
the town of Hanover, which
has a year-round population
under 7,000.
Attendance figures are cru-
cial in the new, anti-dusty-val-
ues era of university museums.
Both the renovated Williams
College Museum of Art-which
may, in fact, beMoore's finest
achievement-and Harvard's
controversial Sackler report in-
Maintaining the hodgepodge:
The Williams museum took
advantage of the variety of
interior spaces caused by past
renovations and extensions

n top of a beaux-arts tradition: Exterior of the Emory art-and-archeology museum

creases, which are necessary to justify the
enormous sums now being spent for ele-
gant galleries. The key to the excellence of
the Williams museum is that it preserves
the intimacy that is essential to study and
research while welcoming the lay public.
Faced with a structure that had already
been renovated and extended several times
since the mid-19th century, Moore wisely
decided to indulge the hodgepodge variety
of rooms rather than "harmonize" them.
The visitor can thus wander from the loft-
scale gallery devoted to surprisingly strong
holdings in contemporary art through
smaller spaces given to other periods and
end, on the far side, in the magnificent
Greek Revival rotunda built in 1846.
If the glittering Williams renovation was
not the proof, the later results-in perfect

fidelity to historical logic-are beyond ref-
utation. Last spring the college announced
it had agreed to manage and direct an enor-
mous space devoted to contemporary art in
nearby North Adams. The state of Massa-
chusetts will partially fund the conversion
of 20 unoccupied factory buildings into a
convention center, commercial space and
the largest exhibition space for contempo-
rary art in the country, 750,000 square feet,
including the fabled collection of Giuseppe
Panza di Biumo of Milan, who has agreed to
a long-term loan. This will draw even larg-
er numbers of international visitors to tiny
Williams. Surely there is no turning back
now. Academe has acquiesced to the hun-
ger and expectations of the very audience it
has trained-and educated.
DOUGLAS DAVIS

SEPTEMBER 1987

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