If you’ve visited the second floor of the Museum recently, you may have noticed that it looks considerably more bare than normal. Big changes are in the works for the galleries of art from Asia and the Islamic World as we embark on a renovation of the second floor and the reinstallation of these collections with a grand opening tentatively planned for 2015.
We will do our best to keep you updated about the project and how it will affect movement around the Museum with signage. We have already cleared all objects from the former Arts of the Islamic World gallery, and soon you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at the project. Objects from the two collections will be on view on storage shelves in that space starting in mid-June. During the first phase of construction, you will be able to walk through this storage area while the adjacent galleries are dark.
This large-scale reinstallation project has also allowed us to collaborate with the Rubin Museum of Art. Museum-goers can see highlights of Asian art from Brooklyn across the East River in the exhibition From India East: Sculptures of Devotion from the Brooklyn Museum, which runs through July 14, 2014. We hope that you will head to Chelsea to learn more about the development of Buddhist and Hindu art across Asia during our temporary closure of the galleries here.
More to come as our opening date gets closer, but we are looking forward to the new galleries. We hope to bring out objects from storage that we couldn’t show in the current galleries, such as Southeast Asian bronzes that require climate control, Japanese scrolls that are too long for the current casework, and an increased number of works on paper from across Asia and the Middle East. It’s a busy but exciting time in my department!