Bowdoin College Museum of Art: A Grand Reopening

Story posted October 15, 2007

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art celebrated its public reopening and its renewed position as the cornerstone of the arts and culture at Bowdoin on October 14, 2007, following an ambitious $20.8 million renovation and expansion project. More than 3,000 people toured the Museum during three days of reopening events that included remarks by Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for The New Yorker. Read Goldberger's remarks here.

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President Mills delivers remarks while Gov. John Baldacci and Maine Arts Commission Director Alden Wilson sit to the right. (Background, l. to r.) Sr. V.P. William Torrey, David Becker '70 and Assoc. Prof. and Assoc. Curator of the Ancient Collection James Higginbotham hold the ribbon.

Capping a weekend of events, President Barry Mills presided over a reopening ceremony outside the Museum's dramatic new glass entry pavilion, whose doors on both the campus side and town side reflect the symbolic and literal welcome extended to the public.

Watch BCN Reopening Coverage
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Click on photo to see student-produced coverage from Bowdoin Cable Network


"Our new jewel box of a museum has become a beacon," said President Mills. "It is a tangible representation of our place in Brunswick and our place in the state of Maine. With doors and windows opening to the community, our artists, our architects and our College have sent a message to our neighbors and to all in Maine of our important commitment to this state and to our town of Brunswick."

Invited to participate in the ribbon cutting, Maine Governor John Baldacci spoke of the arts' importance in driving the economic engines of a creative economy and in building a strong educational foundation.

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President Mills presents Gov. Baldacci a T-shirt depicting one of the Museum's Assyrian reliefs.

"We are like a glass," said Gov. Baldacci. "Whatever we put into it is what we're going to leave our children behind, and today you can be very proud of the contributions you're putting for your children and grandchildren because this is something that will make them have a foundation for a future that we can all be proud of, not just for our country, but for the world."

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(L. to r.)James Higginbotham, Katy Kline, Alden Wilson, Gov. John Baldacci, Pres. Barry Mills, Alison Ferris and Victoria Wilson

Maine Arts Commission Director Alden Wilson followed Mills' and Baldacci's remarks with what he said was the Museum's clear message, "'Come in, see who we are, see what we have.' Congratulations and kudos to Bowdoin College for its jewel in the crown."

A giant red ribbon was unfurled around the pavilion and held in place by the Museum staff and other invited guests before it was cut by a group that included President Mills, Gov. Baldacci and Linda Roth, a Museum donor and member of the Board of Trustees.

Read about the Museum's renovation here.

Inaugural exhibitions

Modern Times: Alumni Collect
Seven Bowdoin alumni and alumnae, representing classes from 1937 to 2000, are sharing works from their collections of recent art. Works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Betye Saar, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, and Kiki Smith included. Bernard and Barbro Osher Gallery. (Through March 7, 2008)

Great Graphics: 1470-1970
Highlights more than sixty works on paper from the Museum's renowned holdings of prints and drawings. Curated by esteemed print collector, scholar, and Bowdoin alumnus David Becker '70, this show will feature a comprehensive display that unites Rembrandt and Picasso, Rubens and Homer, Dürer and Cassatt, and Goya and Klee. Halford Gallery. (Through March 7, 2008)

Museum of Art Renovation Project
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The Walker Art Building renovation is among the top-priority building projects of The Bowdoin Campaign, which ends in 2009. These projects will have a dramatic impact on student life, reflecting the needs and interests of our diverse and talented student body.


Transformations: Traditional and Contemporary Chinese Art in Dialogue
Highlights the rich traditions of Asian art. Juxtaposes ancient Chinese scrolls and prints with contemporary Chinese photography, prints, and mixed media works that reference historic subjects and compositions. Center Gallery. (Through February 1, 2008)

Becoming a (Woman) Artist
Organized in conjunction with Art History 256, this exhibition explores the gendered effects of new opportunities and challenges for women artists. Becker Gallery. (Through November 25, 2007)

89 Seconds at Alcázar
Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation's 89 Seconds at Alcázar launches the new Media Gallery, which will be devoted to video and digital art. Artist Eve Sussman imaginatively "captures" the moments leading up to and immediately following the dynamic moment of artistic conception in Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas. Media Gallery. (Through January 6, 2008)

Stephen Hannock
In the only solo exhibition of the reopening program, artist and 1974 alumnus Stephen Hannock's gift of a large painting conceived for the Museum of Art will be accompanied by other small works. Focus Gallery. (Through January 13, 2008)

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View from Shaw Ruddock Gallery into Boyd Gallery

The American Scene - Part I
Includes work by Gilbert Stuart, John Smibert, Robert Feke, John Quidor, and Winslow Homer. Reintroduces the distinguished and remarkably rich selection of early American work that comprises the permanent collection. Boyd Gallery. (Through January 2008)

The Walker Sisters and Collecting in Victorian Boston
In the first Luce Foundation-funded reinterpretation of the American collection, this exhibition honors the Bowdoin College Museum of Art's founders with an installation of compelling, diverse, and sometimes unexpected art. Shaw Ruddock Gallery. (Through August 24, 2008)

Ars Antiqua: Ancient Pastimes and Passions
Explores the nature of ancient life and its reflections in the art of the ancient world. Walker Gallery. (Long-term installation)

Ancient Art: Immortal Dreams
In accompaniment to Ars Antiqua: Ancient Pastimes and Passions, this exhibition will thematically explore the notion of "life after death" as it existed in ancient cultures. Northend Gallery. (Long-term installation)

Seeing and Believing: 600 Years in Europe
A selective survey of some of Bowdoin's most important works of European art, from a Gothic carved head of a king from Chartres Cathedral to an early-twentieth-century cubist landscape that was included in the 1913 Armory Show. Bowdoin Gallery. (Long-term installation)

The Human Figure - 2500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
Returns the handsome domed and decorated Rotunda to its original designation as a sculpture hall. Rotunda. (Long-term installation)

Palace Reliefs from Kalhu (Nimrud)
The Assyrian relief sculptures in this exhibition are some of the most extraordinary pieces in the Bowdoin collection. Carved at the behest of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II in the ninth century BCE, these stone panels once decorated the walls of the royal palace in the king's new capital at ancient Kalhu. The reliefs were finished with an overlay of cuneiform listing the king's accomplishments. Assyrian Gallery. (Long-term installation)

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Assyrian relief, detail

For images and detailed information about these exhibitions, visit the Museum's exhibitions Web page.


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