VMFA Plans Grand Opening Next Week
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating the Grand Opening of its new McGlothlin Wing next week, a spectacular expansion that will rank it among the top ten fine arts museums in the country. Charles Fishburne talks with Director Alex Nyerges as workers supply the finishing touches.
Outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, they are moving tons of soil and building materials. Inside they are moving priceless pieces of art and hanging huge paintings with painstaking precision.
Nyerges: To us a quarter inch makes a difference of a mile or more…so….
Nyerges: Very important in terms of the juxtaposition of the artwork itself as well as where in the sequence of the walls it hangs, and the curators are very precise about how they do that.
The museum’s director is at this moment the center of a swirl of activity, as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts prepares for the Grand Opening of its new McGlothlin wing just days away, that will propel Virginia’s 74-year old Fine Arts Museum into the ranks of national prominence.
Nyerges: When you look at comprehensive art museums in America, we are going to be the ninth or tenth largest in the US: the Metropolitan, the Art Institute in Chicago number one and two, but we are right there in that top ranking of all art museums.
The new $150 million expansion increases gallery space by 50%. Special exhibition space will double, in this museum that has a collection of 22,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years, from every major culture in the world.
Nyerges: These are our galleries of South Asian art, Indian art, art from the Himalayas, from Tibet, that have been put together by Dr. Joe Dye, our Chief Curator, and they are among the greatest not just in this country, but anywhere.
Five thousand years of art is here…for everyone.
Nyerges: Art museums are traditionally foreboding, as if they were for someone else, and traditionally they probably were. But today, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open seven days a week, we have no admission charge, we want people to come enjoy this fabulous collection, the special exhibitions, have a cappuccino out in the garden, a lunch upstairs in the Amuse Restaurant. It is the kind of thing you can do where you bring your laptop and hook into our Wi-Fi, and you could work here at the museum all day and even on Thursday and Friday evenings, too.
The new Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is about accessibility and space and
light and outreach and growth. But nobody has forgotten what they are there for.
Nyerges: Well, art’s very important for one single reason. We need food to nourish our bodies; we need art to nourish our souls.
It is a feast. And the Grand Opening is for you.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News