The Norton Museum of Art will close from Sept. 2 through Sept. 16 to prepare for the coming exhibition season.
Upon re-opening on Sept. 17, visitors can experience an array of changes, including the installation of a new lobby artwork by acclaimed contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas, a reconfiguration of the Norton’s stellar collection of American works of art and even a new espresso bar steps away from the main entrance.
Thomas, a New York-based artist who earned an MFA in painting from Yale University in 2002, is known for elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel, and for feminist themes that radiate through much of her work. She is the third artist to create an installation for the lobby. As yet untitled, the installation includes a collage of her photographs and other media on a painted vinyl background. An installation on this dramatic scale is her first outside of New York. The installation is made possible through the generosity of Vanessa and Anthony Beyer.
To encourage visitors to continue enjoying the museum as they did throughout the summer, admission on Thursdays, upon re-opening, will be half price all day (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) for all visitors. The Norton’s popular, long-running free Saturday program remains in place, providing free admission (with proof of residency) to West Palm Beach residents every Saturday, and to Palm Beach County residents the first Saturday of each month.
Visitors also can look forward to seeing works from the museum collection that have not been on view in quite some time, as Ellen E. Roberts, Harold and Anne Berkley Smith curator of American Art, plans a substantial, long-term re-installation of the Norton’s American collection. Works by artists such as Mary Cassatt, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, William Michael Harnett, Winslow Homer and Charles Marion Russell will be installed from storage, and the American galleries will be arranged chronologically and thematically.
Other events to look forward to upon re-opening:
• Masterpiece of the Month: The re-opening also will feature the final work in the Norton’s Masterpiece of the Month series, the 300-year-old Chinese masterpiece, court portrait of Yinli, Prince Guo. Since May, the series has been showcasing an exceptional, rarely seen piece of art selected by the Norton’s curator from private collections. The portrait of Yinli, Prince Guo will be on view from Sept. 17 through Oct. 20. Prince Guo was the 17th son of the Kangxi Emperor (reigned 1661-1722). This is the earliest known portrait of him, the last in private hands and the first time it has been publically exhibited. Laurie Barnes, Elizabeth B. McGraw curator of Chinese art, will discuss the work at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19.
• The eighth annual Chinese Moon Festival Celebration: This event is set for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. This family celebration of Chinese art and culture is filled with children’s activities and art projects, tours of the museum’s Chinese collections, traditional mooncakes and tea. This year, in conjunction with the special exhibition, “Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture,” children can create famous structures from China. Families also can enjoy a concert of “Music of the Qing Court” by the Ann Yao Trio, featuring Yao on zheng (zither), Wang Guowei on erhu (two-stringed fiddle) and Yihan Chen on pipa (four-stringed lute). The event is free with museum admission.
• Smithsonian magazine’s ninth annual Museum Day Live: This annual event, involving hundreds of museums across the country, is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28. Download a free Museum Day Live ticket from www.smithsonianmag.com, present it to Norton visitor services and enjoy two free admissions per ticket, valid on Sept. 28.
The Norton Museum of Art is located at 1451 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed on Mondays and major holidays). General admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students with a valid ID (half price on Thursdays) and free for members and children ages 12 and under. Special group rates are available. For more information, call (561) 832-5196 or visit www.norton.org.