WSJ: Renzo Is Harvard Art Museum’s Piano Man

(With apologies to Billy Joel)

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man,

Sing us a song tonight.

Well we’re all in the mood for a melody,

And you’ve got us feeling alright.

As the hardworking staff previously noted, the new Harvard Art Museums debuted last month to decidedly mixed reviews.

But Wall Street Journal architecture critic Julie V. Iovine fairly swooned yesterday in her review of the new triplex.

Piano’s ‘Teaching Machine’

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 1.36.11 AM

Harvard should probably prepare for a significant uptick in art history majors. The new Harvard Art Museums building that opened on Nov. 16 is an alluring new museum scaled perfectly for individual human, as opposed to swarming public, use.

More than 15 years in the making, the structure brings together under one roof three very disparate collections—the encyclopedic study collection of the fabled Fogg, founded in 1895; a stunning array of Asian art masterworks from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum; a medieval-to-modern array of central and northern European works from the Busch-Reisinger Museum—in a conceptually generous and thoughtfully detailed building by Renzo Piano.

Conceptually generous and thoughtfully detailed, eh? Depends on where you look, as this Critical Round-Up from Architecture News illustrates.

Anyway, WSJ pull quote:

Forget the gift shop – this museum wants visitors to engage with art.

Wait – as opposed to museums that want visitors not to engage with art?

Okaaaay.

In fairness, read the whole piece and you tell us.

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