The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is Cornell University's art museum. It is located on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. The museum explains its vision as: “We create direct experiences with art and catalyze interdisciplinary learning, opening new doors to lifelong inquiry and exploration.“
Cornell's original art museum, known as the “University Art Museum,” was founded in 1953. It brought together the university's various art collections and was housed in the Andrew Dickson White House, the on-campus mansion of Cornell's first president.
In 1973, the museum moved to a purpose-built structure. This concrete building was designed in the Brutalist-style by I.M. Pei and Partners. Located on the northern end of Libe Slope, the structure was designed to act as a focal point while at the same time not obstruct the panoramic views of Cayuga Lake visible from the Cornell campus. A 16,000 square foot addition was opened just north of the building in 2011.
The museum was named after Herbert F. Johnson, a former trustee of Cornell and benefactor of the university. Mr. Johnson's role as Chairman of S.C. Johnson & Sons, the maker of Johnson's Wax, led some undergraduates to nickname the new museum the “Johnson's Wax Museum.” However, it is most often referred to as “the Johnson.”
There are some 33,000 works in the Johnson's permanent collection. These include works by artists such as John Constable, William Hogarth, Sir Peter Lely, George Romney, Albrecht Durer, Eduard Manet, Edgar Degas, Gilbert Stuart, Albert Bierstad, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keefe, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg.
The collection is quite diverse including works from around the globe ranging from pre-history to contemporary works. It is particularly strong in Asian art. Indeed, it includes some 8,000 works.
The Johnson also hosts temporary exhibitions.
Ithaca is located in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, approximately four hours drive northwest from New York City. Admission to the museum is free. However, because the Johnson is located on the Cornell campus, public parking is limited and there is a charge for parking.
For more information about visiting, see the Johnson's website.
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