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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing & Additional Art Museum Renovations

With just over a month since Chicago’s Art Institute officially opened the Modern Wing, it is important to remember other memorable additions or renovations to art museums of late.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Wing
Conceived of after the successful public reception of Millennium Park, the Modern Wing was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and is the southern bookend for the Millennium Park project. Connected to the park via a whimsical bridge rising over Monroe Street, it was received with much fanfare over the past month and written about by the world’s most influential newspapers. Thousands of Chicagoans and visitors alike have already visited the airy edition and appreciated the expanded modern collection in the clean and naturally lit galleries. Standing as a reminder of the success of green planning and simplicity, the Modern Wing is the newest in the line of important changes helping to improve Chicago.

Acropolis Museum, Athens
Another notable addition getting attention in the news is the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. Reenergizing the cultural scene in Athens, this 200 million dollar modern structure is an ideal setting to view some of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements. The crisp architectural details and generous amount of light streaming through the windows allow for the true beauty of the pieces on display to shine through. A dramatic concrete and glass structure built at the foot of the Acropolis, the construction of this world-class museum has even reenergized the debate over where the Elgin Marbles should be housed. Regardless of the outcome of this familiar struggle, the museum promotes classical beauty while at the same time being beautiful in its own right.

Milwaukee Art Museum, Brise-Soleil
In what was once known as the German Athens, the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava created a beautiful addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001. The addition, which is perched on Lake Michigan and replete with movable arched wings and a beautiful white skeletal structure, the construction did much to inject life into a faltering art community in Milwaukee. The addition caught the attention of the international media as well as museum goers and has served as the hub of cultural and social life of Milwaukee ever since. It is an example of how a talented architect, a cultural institution, and a beautiful location can come together to reinvigorate a neglected collection in the Midwest.

Neues Museum, Berlin
Proof of the potential even of rubble, the Neues Museum in Berlin reopened earlier this year after half a century of disrepair. Originally created in the 19th century as part of the museum campus of Berlin, the museum sustained heavy damage during the Second World War and endured years of neglect. An eleven year renovation project lead by David Chipperfield of London has given a breath of life into the bones of this once glorious institution, retaining the details of the original structure and adding a new interior that does not cover up the building’s history. Staircases and galleries are reformed in a modern, light fashion but bullet holes, brick inconsistencies, and chipped paint remain as a reminder of the building’s pervious history. A beautiful synthesis of old and new, the museum has reopened and will soon house some of the nation’s most prized pieces including the famous bust of Nefertiti.

Hope in Troubled Times
All of the additions mentioned remind us of the continued necessity of culture in our everyday lives. The fact that cities and cultural organizations continue to plan and expand for an audience of increasing diversity is a wonderful reminder of the power that art has to unite. A testament to the importance of art even in economically difficult times, the newest addition to the Art Institute of Chicago reasserts the importance of culture in the Windy City. This addition confirms Chicago’s place in the global art scene, putting MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. in an ideal location to be of service to art collectors.

~MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-8510

Works cited:
Carassava, Anthee. “In Athens, Museum is an Olympian Feat,” in New York
Times 19 June 2009.

Kimmelman, Michael. “For Berlin Museum, a Modern Makeover that Doesn’t Deny
the Wounds of War,” in New York Times 13 March 2009.

Rosenbaum, Lee. “A Modern Wing Takes Flight,” in Wall Street Journal 2 June 2009.

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    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.