The Taubman Art Museum
Grand Opening Celebration Nov. 8, 2008

Formerly The Art Museum of Western Virginia, it is named after Roanoke native Nicholas Taubman and his wife Jenny who made the largest donation to the museum of $15 million!! Jenny has led the new museum's fund raising campaign since the early years of the project.

The museum opened to the public Saturday with a huge celebration including a day of music, ballet, inspiring words by Gov. Tim Kaine and other dignitaries.

The result was a flood of visitors that museum officials said topped 10,000 by the day's end.

My ticket to enter. Approximately 400 people were admitted every half hour beginning at 11am and continuing until 11pm! Admission throughout the first day was free, though the museum issued tickets with assigned times to keep the crowd numbers under control.

35,000 sq ft of stainless steel paneling went into the undulating museum roof. The panels, which have a swirled angel hair finish to reduce glare, were put in place with the aid of a computer-age surveying tool called a “total station”. When installed with solid sheathing, a metal roof is often much quieter than other roofs, and it goes not attract lightning.

The new Taubman Museum is the first purpose-built art museum in the city’s history. The $66 million, 81,000-square-foot facility will function as both a repository of artworks and a work of art itself.

A permanent collection showcases American art from the early 1800s to the present day, including pieces from the likes of Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent to Jasper Johns and Jacob Lawrence. There will also be many temporary exhibits.

The building is a dramatic composition of flowing curves and angled faces in steel, glass and patinated zinc panels which were bathed in a chemical mixture, then rinsed with water to achieve the desired “stone” color.
The outdoor deck is on the third floor which contains Administration Offices. It is not accessible to the public.

Aerial view of museum as it appeared in an October issue of our newspaper, The Roanoke Times.

The day kicked off with speeches under a huge tent set up on Market Street.

Museum was designed by Los Angeles–based architect Randall Stout who was born nearby in eastern Tennessee.

After all the speeches, a band preceded the officials and museum members walking up the block to the doors for the ribbon cutting. The William Fleming High School choir and its drum line added music as people of all ages lined up to enter.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

MUSEUM IS OFFICIALLY OPENED TO THE PUBLIC! At 11am as the first surge of visitors enter the building.

My time to enter! I was near the end of the line and here I am working my way up to the doors of the museum.

Stepping inside was amazing. There's a huge lobby area inside the doors. One of the first things you will notice is a huge 77 ft high atrium with an illuminated grand staircase.

11,000 square feet of gallery space is located on the second floor featuring the museum's permanent collection of 19th and early 20th century American art.

The 20ft grand staircase features 40 steps of frosted glass steps lighted from below with maple wood risers and stainless steel handrails.

Most people who go up the staircase for the first time find themselves looking down at the steps, and not up, at what lies ahead.

I'd reached the second floor landing and balcony over looking the lobby below. It was exciting to be inside this building with everyone else after watching it under construction for over two years!The bars visible in the stairway pic are clear lucite bars with names of those who donated large amounts towards building the museum.

A later view as another group enters the building - I was in the museum for over 2 hours! It was so much fun being a part of this Grand Opening!

While I tend to avoid mob scenes like this at all costs, I really had fun being in the middle of things that day. John was in AZ visiting his son, so he wasn't with me.

The hallway leading from the stairs past the galleries resembles a subterranean river, with sculpted walls and milky, filtered light. The meandering hallway resembles a riverbed with the galleries branching off like caves to the right and left.We were allowed to take photographs of the art work as long as we did not use flash! I just randomly snapped a few here and there with no notice of the creator of these works.

These two pictures (above & below) on red walls are 17th Century Florentine paintings from the Haukohl Family Collection. The walls were painted red to complement the glided frames. It was very different and very attractive!

Very life-like sculpture. Interesting how he's viewing himself in the mirror.

The Judith Leiber gallery of her miniature evening purses donated to the museum by Rosalie Shaftman of Roanoke who has been collecting Leiber bags for more than 30 years.

At 92 purses, this is now the largest collection of Leiber purses in America. Prices for these bags range from $600 to almost $8,000. Randal Stout Architects created this gallery for their display which will show 30 works on view at a time.

I found this night view of the museum outdoor balcony online. In the background is Mill Mountain where you can just make out the star at the top.

Meanwhile, back out on the streets, there were all sorts of activities, entertainment, and music throughout the day.

Here are the dazzling Cirikli Stilt Birds
The puppets are up to 12 feet tall and controlled by performers on stilts. They strolled the streets all day and evening.

Each giant bird (actually, one looks like a butterfly) is made by hand. These wings operated by hidden strings open and close.

Here the butterfly poses as though perched on the tree branch. She was very graceful and pretty in her movements. The costumes are extremely fragile and they have to repair them constantly.

The birds are also attended by a watchful shepherd down at ground level, to prevent mishaps. Not only are their protruding tails fragile, but small children have a tendency to want to hug them around the legs which can bring the performers crashing down.

Being controlled by a performer on stilts gives this bird the illusion it is being ridden. It's head and neck moves all around creating a very realistic appearance and it's beak opens and closes and it can make a sort of chattering sound!

You can view a short video of these birds on my you tube account at this link:

Wed, Dec. 3, 2009

John and I went to the Museum so that he could see it and I wanted to see it again without the crowd. Here's additional pics of the museum from that visit.

The museum's Norah's Cafe is located here at the left. It will have outdoor dining in warmer weather.

Inside the huge lobby once again. Doors in back right lead to Art Venture, a 2,200 sq ft interactive gallery geared toward involving visitors of all ages in the creative process and featuring a series of hands on activity stations, viewing areas etc. It has not yet been completed.

Standing at the back of the lobby near the 185 seat theater. It was originally designed to accommodate an IMAX theater, until studies showed an IMAX would be unprofitable here. Instead, a new conventional theater includes retractable seating, a stage and hookups for multiple projectors.

View of the Grand Staircase leading up to the galleries as seen a month after opening day.

On the left just inside the entrance doors to the building is a Crafty Gift Shop and Boutique area.

A better view of the second floor hallway minus all the people of opening day. Opening day really was fun, though! I am glad I was there.

At the end of the hall, they have now added this sculpture. If you look closely, you can see a figure of a man standing there among all the metal rods sticking out every which way. I saw this in the old museum and loved it! It was not here on opening day and I was glad to see it here now.

Oil painting on quartz. I love the way this small piece is displayed. Looks like the front of an old clock turned into use as a picture frame! This is titled "John the Baptist in the Wilderness", painted by Italian artist Giovan Battista Vanni (1600-1660)

Oil painting on copper! A very small piece of art - mounted in an eye-catching, three dimensional way. It's a self portrait of Italian artist Jacopi da Empoli circa 1610.

Here's a pic of an unusual table. I could not find information regarding the table!

John admiring what he declared was his favorite painting in the gallery: Norman Rockwell's "Framed" painted as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post. The painting is one of several Rockwell did on museum subjects.

The Judith Leiber gallery of her miniature evening purses. Here's better pics of the beautiful and unusual creation for displaying these purses and pill boxes. It's set up in a small circular room painted black for emphasis and is fascinating.

Judith Leiber fashioned her first handbag upon opening a gift package bought for a friend and finding the shiny metal box inside scratched. The artist in her quickly appeared as she covered the box in crystals.

Me standing by the painting of Mrs. George Gribble - formerly Norah Royds, painted in 1888 when she was in her mid 20s by John Singer Sargent, an American Painter. Museum officials believe the 10-foot-plus portrait is an overlooked gem from Sargent’s early years.

Norah's Cafe
Named after the museum's prized painting above.

The cafe, with both inside and outside seating, will feature morning coffee and pastries and a lunch and dinner menu with "seasonal American cuisine".

On the menu above, you can see the cut-out figure of Norah from the painting.

The bridge outside the window is Williamson Avenue.


NOTE: There are more than 1,900 objects in the art museum's permanent collection. Typically, only 4% to 6% (THAT'S ALL?) of the museum's collection is on display at any time. I cannot understand why so few pieces owned by the museum are on display in this huge building!

January 20, 2010

Today, my friend Pat and I went to the Art Museum. We enjoyed it very much and it was a great outing. Here's some of what we saw.

We saw the 4 Temporary Exhibits as follows:

Conceptual artist Peter Eudenbach uses sculpture, installation, video and multiples to explore the history of ideas while playing with our expectations of the commonplace.

Peter Eudenbach has created the ultimate
architectural folly – a miniature Ferris wheel made of Eiffel Towers . was spinning and that's why the wheel is not sharp.

Created shadow-art on wall. Neat piece of work.

"Holocene" - 2009 Same at both ends; graduates small to large.

"Grind" 2008 - Record Mower

Close up of the Record Mower.

"Time Transfixed", is the artist's re-doing of the famous Rene Magritte work. It is a clock that sports two faces, one facing us and the other facing the mirror where time is going forwards and backwards, in essence canceling itself.

A nice view of the exhibit room though you cannot see the Ferris wheel well or the video on the wall behind where this pic was taken from. (OL pic)

Exhibit 2: "Jumpstart and Holler" - Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra. Was created especially for the Taubman with the artists premiering the new site-specific installation "Hard Times". Based on the theme of beggar in modern society, it features their "tent city" and other works.

According to the artists: "Especially in the wake of Katrina and the housing and economic crises, beggars are from every class and walk of life. This is a depiction of their plight."

continued: "While it's shocking to us that so many of our countrymen and women have been forced into tent cities during this recession.......

......even more shocking is the fact that so many are homeless regardless of how the economy is doing."

Exhibit 3: Thoughts About Life and Death by Russell Richards who has worked primarily in the printmaking, developing multi-plate color methods in etching and lithography. His current focus is on painting utilizing various media such as oiled, inks and watercolors.

Perhaps the most intriguing work that the artist has produced over the past few years is a series of "Inaccurate Maps" where the streets and places are squeezed and altered in various directions to fit into the picture plane.

These were just two of his many pieces on display.

Exhibit 4 is titled "Sorid & Sacred" and is a collection of the beggars in Rembrandt's etchings from the John Villarino Collection. No photos were permitted of this exhibit :(

This is one of his etchings I found online.

Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal (the original process—in modern manufacturing other chemicals may be used on other types of material)

Rembrandt produced etchings for most of his career, from 1626 to 1660,
when he was forced to sell his printing-press and virtually abandoned
etching. He was also a talented painter but this display is just of his Beggars Etchings.


Various works of art from the permanent collection.

Let's be creative.....let's take some heavy chains and a bunch of spools of thread (1,292 to be exact) and make some art.....

We will make the chains different lengths....and use a variety of colors.....

AND LOOK! An upside down Campbell's soup can piece of art work - out of spools of thread....

Now place a clear acrylic viewing sphere in front of the wall
hanging.....and what do YOU see in the clear acrylic viewing
sphere??--- a right side up soup can made out of spools of thread
hanging on chains! HOW COOL IS THAT?? This is by Devorah Sperber and if you google her name, you can find a whole page of these designs she has
made this way. Fascinating and really intrigued us when we saw it today
and realized what we were looking at!

"Voyage of the Polaris" circa 1875 by William Bradford. Based on a true story of an expedition to the North Pole during which the ship wrecked and it's workers spent 6 mos living on the ice waiting to be rescued!

"Swinging on the Gate" circa 1878-79 by J.G. Brown.

"Country Cabin, Autumn" circa 1880 by Hermann Herzog.

"In The Nursery" circa 1917 by Frederick Carl Frieseke.

"Happy Days" circa 1910-1920 by Edward Henry Potthast.

Painted by Irving Ramsey Wiles in 1910 and titled "A Portrait of Miss
T". One of the most esteemed painters of his generation, he established
a lifelong connection with the North Fork of Long Island (NY) when he
built a home and studio there in 1895.

"Madonna and the Christ Child" circa 17th Century by Onorio Marinari.

The frames are a piece of art work themselves. Huge and deep. This
piece is by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti (1692-1768) called "Harlequin and
his Lady" (first half, 17th century) Oil on Canvas, it's a 17th Century Florentine Painting.

A piece of carved wood....with 3-D type raised figures and items. Two
separate works placed together. Done by Leroy Almon Sr. Upper one
titled Jesus Tales and lower one Mr & Mrs Satan Fishing. Both done
in 1989.

Leroy's work centered around
religious, social and moral themes. He first drew out
each design on a fresh piece of wood.

Next came the
painstaking process of carving out the design, followed by painting.
Unlike many artists, the quality of Leroy's work did not decline as
demand increased.

Jane Eleanor Sherman Lacy and her son Edward painted in 1860 by Lilly Martin Spencer.


The next 3 pictures of three different exhibit rooms at the museum are shown to point out the fact that more works could be displayed on these walls instead of spreading them out like this.

17th Century Florentine Paintings Room

No comments: