Not every art space is created equal. Some do a better job of showcasing artwork than others. When an artist chooses to display their work they need to choose an environment in which their work will be well received, one in which their pieces can exist exactly as they intended.
Two spaces that I’ll be comparing are the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) and the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM). These museums are exact opposites, a classical museum versus a modern viewing experience. A little background on both of these buildings first.
The CAM’s original building was built in 1886 and the museum’s collection grew from the generosity of donations. The building was added onto in 1907 and then again in the 1940s-1965. In 1993 the interior of the museum was restored displaying the beauty of the Great Hall. At this time the temporary exhibition space was expanded to about 10,000sq. ft. to accomodate larger exhibitions. The space best suites classical artwork, 2-d and 3-d work, with standard gallery lighting and open blank walls.
The CAC’s current location in downtown Cincinnati was designed by architect Zaha Hadid. The CAC was initially founded in 1939 and the construction of the current building was completed in the spring of 2003. Fun fact: it was the first museum ever to be designed by a woman. The interior of the building definitely has a modern take with a skateboarding ramp in the lobby and one of a kind stairs created by a company who manufactures rollercoaster tracks. My favorite feature of the museum is the Unmuseum, which is technically the children’s section. There are several pieces of interactive artwork such as Paavo’s Hands, which is where you get the opportunity to move your hands and hear your very own orchestra follow your lead. By definition the CAC exhibits current artists in all different mediums and is always trying new things. The museum has blank white walls but is willing to try new things and drastically change the appearance of the room.
In my personal opinion, all artwork exists best on a white blank wall with no distractions. No gallery and museum are exactly alike so an artist needs to evaluate a space carefully to decide where they would like their work to be displayed.
Unmusuem (CAC) CAM
For more information about these museums you can go to their websites: