Thursday, March 22, 2007

Aaron Betsky has been making his impact as new Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Just last week, a recently acquired and quite rare 1950 Ferrari 166MM Barchetta was given a prominent spot in the museum.

"It's just one car, but I wanted to send a signal as soon as possible that this museum is going to engage in the history of decorative arts and design," Betsky said. "That art is not just ancient and not just something in a frame on a wall."

March 10th saw the opening of Arenas, a museum-wide collection of site-specific installations by Cincinnati multimedia artist Anthony Luensman. Through sound, video, automation and other non-traditional media, Luensman hopes to engage museum goers in playful, thought provoking, experiential ways.

The director says, "What Tony has done is to create bridges between our collection and our senses. In doing so, he has used technology to open up new dimensions in works we thought we knew too well."

On a local interest note, I was quite bummed about the timing of Betsky's appointment at the CAM, because I think he would be the most qualified and most exciting candidate to follow retiring Cranbrook Art Academy Director Gerhardt Knodel - one of the few persons I could imagine taking Gerhardt's place, actually. The good news for Cincinnati (and for the art world) is that Cinci may become an Art Mecca - not for bombastic architecture, but for intelligent, progressive and engaging exhibitions.

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