Art museum exhibits draw large crowds
left, and Erica Lehrer look at Picasso's
"Portrait of Manuel Pallares"
at the U-M Museum of Art. They are
part of the near-record crowds visiting
the museum for the Picasso, Ansel
Adams and New York photography exhibits.
(Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M
James Steward couldnt believe his eyes when he saw the throng
of people at the Pablo Picasso exhibition recently at the U-M Museum
As director of the museum, Steward knew the show would be popular.
But on that day, the Sunday before Labor Day, the crowds exceeded
There were so many people in the Picasso exhibition that
they were actually forming their own line to make sure they
saw each work of art, he says.
That was just one of many well-attended days. People have flocked
to the museum at near-record levels, surpassed in number only by
the Claude Monet exhibition in early 1998.
An average of about 3,500 people a week have come to the museum,
primarily to see the Picasso show and exhibitions of New York photography
and Ansel Adams works, Steward says. During Welcome Week, 5,565
students, parents and others came to the museum. Steward had hoped
for 2,000 visitors a week.
The numbers are especially impressive because the shows did so
well during the summer, typically a slow time, Steward says. We
were able to maintain our attendance, even during the dog days of
August, he says.
Most of the paintings and photographs came from the more than
14,000 works of art in the museums collection, Steward says.
Typically, only 3 to 4 percent of those are on display due to limited
We specifically organized this constellation of exhibitions
to make a statement about how rich this collection really is,
On a recent day, Loren Harmon of Tecumseh strolled through the
Picasso exhibition and said she was impressed by the array of his
works on display, including a sketch of a woman.
(Im) marveling at the fact that he could really draw,
she said. Its interesting to see the different artistic
Here is a brief description of the three shows:
Picasso: Masterworks from the Collection
is an overview of the artists career drawn almost exclusively
from the holdings of his works at the museum. The exhibition features
31 pieces, including drawings, prints and oil paintings, from 1905
to 1968. Paintings featured in the exhibit include The Bullfight
and Portrait of Francoise. The exhibit ends Sept. 15.
New York Observed: The Mythology of the
City features photographs of the citys skyscrapers, bridges
and diverse people. It is timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary
of the terrorist attacks. It features works by Alfred Stieglitz,
Walker Evans and others. The exhibit ends Sept. 22.
Ansel Adams: A Centennial Celebration is
an exhibit timed to the 100th anniversary of the photographers
birth. It includes some of his famed landscape photos, as well as
still lifes and portraits. The exhibit ends Sept. 22.