By Carrie Sanger
The Meadows Museum, SMU, announced today that it will reopen to the public beginning Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at reduced capacity but with regular hours, according to guidelines set by the state of Texas. The museum shop will be open with limited capacity. In the fall, the museum hopes to open its special exhibition Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, which had originally been scheduled to open in late-March. Its companion exhibition drawn from the museum’s own holdings, Berruguete Through the Lens: Photographs from a Barcelona Archive—the installation of which has been completed since staff returned to campus June 1—will be on view beginning July 7. Healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential business employees will receive free admission throughout the month of July.
Following guidance from SMU, as well as state and local health authorities, the museum is implementing a series of enhanced sanitation and social-distancing measures to protect both visitors and staff as part of its reopening. This includes using timed tickets, available for advance purchase through the Meadows’ website beginning July 1, to manage the flow of visitors. Visitors may still purchase tickets at the admissions desk subject to availability. All staff are required to wear face coverings, and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering while in the museum, for the protection of others as well as themselves; both cloth and disposable masks will be available for a small donation for visitors who do not bring their own. Updated signage will be installed throughout the museum to remind people to keep their distance from those outside their own group, and the Meadows’ staff will receive additional training to support effective engagement with visitors. The museum has also developed a new cleaning regimen that includes regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, such as door handles. As an additional precaution, the museum will continue to conduct all programming online through the fall and will likewise maintain the current pause on docent-guided tours until 2021.
“We are so excited to be able to welcome visitors back to the Meadows Museum, and to share our outstanding collection of Spanish art with them,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “Being closed has been hard, first and foremost because of what our community and our country has been going through, but also because we believe so firmly that people benefit from experiences with great works of art. We, therefore, see reopening as an opportunity for people to engage with art and through art to reflect on the lives of individuals, families, and whole communities.”
Among the standouts of the permanent collection on view are the museum’s renowned collection of old master paintings from Spain’s Golden Age, including works by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, El Greco, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and Jusepe de Ribera. The museum is fortunate to own six paintings by Francisco de Goya, including the well-known Yard with Madmen (1794) and one of his last works, a portrait of his grandson executed the year before he died. Another particular strength of the Meadows’ collection is a number of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century paintings by Spanish artists working both within and beyond their native country’s borders, such as Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, Raimundo de Madrazo, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, and Ignacio Zuloaga. Modern and contemporary artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Miquel Barceló and Jaume Plensa are also represented among the museum’s comprehensive holdings.
Also on view through summer 2020 is the painting Untitled (2019) by Madrid native Secundino Hernández (b. 1975), presented for the launch of the museum’s MAS: Meadows/ARCO Artist Spotlight initiative. The painting reflects Hernández’s exuberant style, which mixes hard-edged lines with vibrant washes of color—and is inspired by both old and modern Spanish masters. Originally placed on view in November 2019, the loan of the work has been extended through summer 2020.
In the fall, the Meadows hopes to present Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, the first exhibition devoted to the artist to be presented outside Spain. Berruguete (c. 1488–1561) revolutionized the arts of Spain and is best known for his dramatic style, reflecting the more than 10 years he spent in Italy in the early part of his career. Organized by the Meadows Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in collaboration with the Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid, Spain, the show includes some 45 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper drawn from a range of international collections. In tandem, the Meadows will also be presenting Berruguete Through the Lens: Photographs from a Barcelona Archive. Drawn from images included in the Archivo Mas, named for its founder, the Barcelona-based photographer Adolf Mas Ginestà (1860–1936), these images give rare glimpses into the state of preservation of premodern Spanish buildings and their contents during the early twentieth century. Typically used for study purposes by museum staff, these archival selections drawn from photos taken over several years leading up to and into the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) are being exhibited for the first time, giving visitors essential insight into the experience of Berruguete’s work.