6 must-attend museum celebrations
2015 marks a special anniversary for those on our list.
For many museums across the globe, 2015 will be a year to remember. Not just another year on the calendar, but a significant anniversary. And big birthdays call for big celebrations, with special exhibitions, one-off talks, commemorative events and parties. Here are six museums whose 2015 anniversary programming has caught our attention.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 50 years
With nearly a million visitors annually, LACMA is one of the largest art museums in the western United States. (Photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been on an improvement kick ahead of its big birthday. Not only is it hoping to push forward with a bold new building, but the museum has also been busy securing itself more works for its collection. Celebrating its quest for growth, the museum is hosting a show called “50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary,” which presents the latest and greatest of its new acquisitions. Works on display will include some from the recent high-profile A. Jerrold Perenchio bequest, with pieces from Andy Warhol, Claude Monet and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres among others.
The Israel Museum, 50 years
On the scale of birthdays, 50 is a big one. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is marking a half-century of existence with a fittingly reflective year-long series of events. Among the exhibits are “1965 Today,” which looks back to the year when the museum first opened its doors. A revealing window into the past, this show includes a selection of more than 50 artworks – all dating from 1965 – as well as original footage from newsreels and everyday items from the era, such as books, furniture and clothing. “’1965 Today’ aims to provide our visitors with a snapshot of the year that the museum came into being, examining the rich artistic, cultural and social context of the time,” said James S. Snyder, the museum’s director. “The exhibition captures Israeli visual character within the prevailing aesthetics and art historical movements that dominated the mid-1960s worldwide.” Currently open, “1965 Today” runs until Aug. 29, 2015 and is just one of several special exhibits planned.
Bata Shoe Museum, 20 years
Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum may be more youthful than many of the other museums on our list, but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in style. To honor its momentous anniversary, the museum has a full year’s worth of fascinating footwear-focused programming. Currently showing is “Standing Tall: A Curious History of Men in Heels,” which looks at men’s footwear from the early 17th century to the present day and runs until June 2016. Senior curator Elizabeth Semmelhack said, “The exhibition highlights what we strive to do here at the Bata Shoe Museum – to take the ordinary and help people see the extraordinary in it. European men happily wore heels for 130 years after it was introduced into fashion as expressions of power and privilege, and cowboys today continue to wear heels. This exhibition seeks to tell the complex history of men in heels and ask why the subject still touches a nerve today.”
Dallas Meadows Museum, 50 years
Set on the Southern Methodist University campus, Dallas Meadows is devoted to Spanish art in the United States. To mark its anniversary, the museum is paying tribute to its legacy with “The Meadows Collects: 50 Years of Spanish Art in Texas.” The exhibit looks back through its history, beginning with its founding by Texas philanthropist and oil financier Algur H. Meadows, who took inspiration from Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado, and tracing its story through to the present day. Alexandra Letvin, who curated the exhibit said, “The exhibition highlights major moments in the museum's history, as well as the individuals who shaped the collection and helped the museum reach its present state. In addition to archival photographs, press clippings, news footage and acquisition documentation, the exhibition features works from the museum's permanent collection. They include a forgery of El Greco that formed part of the museum's initial collection, a drawing by Joan Miró dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Meadows after a chance encounter in a New York gallery and a watercolor by Santiago Calatrava of his ‘Wave’ sculpture.”
Museum of Oxford, 40 years
In Oxford, England, one of the world’s most well-known university cities, history seeps from every crack and pore. It is the Museum of Oxford that is tasked with telling the story of both the city and its people. To commemorate its 40 years of operation, the museum is calling on the people of Oxford to raid their attics and the hidden corners of their homes for objects of special significance. A selection of the most important finds will be featured in the “40 Year, 40 Objects: Celebrating the Stories of a City and its People” show in September. Already, intriguing items have surfaced, with Ann Spokes Symonds, the former Lord Mayor of Oxford and former Oxford City Councillor, donating a piece of Oxford’s controversial Cutteslowe Walls. Built in 1934 and topped with spikes, the infamous wall divided rich from poor and was kept in place until 1959 despite protestations.
The Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, 50 years
As part of its golden anniversary celebrations, the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida is doing what many of us do on major birthdays – looking back, taking stock and celebrating all that it has accomplished. The museum will showcase its photographic holdings, which were greatly bolstered by donations by collectors Ludmila and Bruce Dandrew, and Chitranee and Dr. Robert L. Drapkin, between 2009 and 2012. For the “Five Decades of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts,” more than 175 works will be on show, including salt prints, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. Household names – such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe and Ansel Adams – will be represented. The works will hail from all around globe – from Paris and London to India, Egypt and America. Taking place from June 20 until Oct. 4, the show runs concurrently with other exhibits including an exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints (running until August).
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