Reviews for Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery & Sculpture Garden: 1
Unexpected treasure on the plains
By A Yahoo Contributor, 6/20/05
The Sheldon is on the campus of the University of Nebraska--just south of the huge (and expanding) football stadium. Nebraska is famed for football, of course. The art on campus deserves equal recognition.
The Sheldon's architecture by Phillip Johnson gets mixed reviews, but it is handsomely finished in every detail and centers on a beautiful and light-filled "great hall." Surrounding it is a sculpture garden. Some works have been removed with no posted explanation, but the collection as installed is remarkable, extending from an impressive cubist figure by Jacques Lipshitz to fine examples of the work of David Smith, Tony Smith, Mark diSuvero, and many others.
The collection of paintings is almost exclusively American. The present installation is well done. Six small galleries are organized by theme--eg, the Body, Time, and so on.(Centered in the gallery devoted to the body is Brancusi's stunning Princess X) The range of the collection, strongest from the late 19th century to more or less the present, is impressive, the quality of individual works on display equally so.
The drawbacks are these: the museum is small. The Sheldon holds a fine photography collection, but during our visit not a print was on view. Safe guarding an important collection is of paramount importance, plainly, but the works are very dimly lit. The Sheldon provides the lowest light levels of any of the many art museums we've visited on three continents. Entering the galleries from the sun-filled great hall is going from day to night. The nearly black carpet on the floor of the galleries reserved for the collection doesn't help.
It is too bad that the vast support for Big Red football doesn't extend elsewhere--the Sheldon, like the stadium, needs to expand to provide a more adequate sampling of the collection it holds. Probably that won't happen. On the beautiful May morning that we visited, though admission is free, we were about the only visitors in the museum. In all, though, for a tranquil experience of a fine collection in a handsome place, take the spur Interstate off I-80 to downtown Lincoln. Heading east or west, the detour is certainly worth it.
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