I made many demands during Birthday Month. Finish assembling the Christmas shelves, go out to see movies, and visit the art museum.
The Saint Louis art Museum has been around since the 1904 World's Fair. I've seen three permutations: the museum of my school days, the museum plus the new Wing with the long-stored decorative rooms, and now the newer wing that that opened over the summer.
(Gary echoed my thoughts when he said, "Why can't they build the new wings so they match the old building?" The thing isn't made out of marble, I think it's granite, but the new wings are glassy and modern. It's not as jarring as the front of the Louvre, but c'mon. There must be some resin / faux granite they can use.)
So the first version of the museum was very European, then they added the modern art and a little touch of Asian art, and in this new permutation there's a strong showing of Islamic Art, African art, Asian Art, native art. There's a particularly remarkable bust of an ebony man with a white marble toga that's been in storage for years.
(The effort to be more diverse was noticeable, but not as forced as the Diversity Push at the Hermitage. Printed muslin window hangings displayed the stories and faces of the Hermitage slaves. It all looked very temporary and token.)
They did a nice job rehabbing the old areas to fit in more art. They had a nice feature in the drawings and etchings exhibit: magnifying glasses. There was an enormous central room wholly devoted to Max Beckman. Evidently he taught in Saint Louis and made a huge donation of art.
The modern art has been pushed into the new wing. That wing's been divided into different schools with a nice explanatory blurb in each area. You can go into the area with the wormy blob of resin and see that the reason it has value is because the artist was in the Process school of thought, in which the process of making the art was key, and the result, not so much.
I was able to find almost all of my favorites. (Caroline, the Bathroom Mirror is back, now with two toothbrushes.) The only one I couldn't find was the scribbly pink Jean Dubuffet, only to find his twin on Hattie's blog.
It really is like an entirely new museum. I need to visit more often than every six years.