Art within art: flashy Weisman

From a distance, it resembles a precarious stack of giant metallic building blocks. Ask campus-goers what it looks like, and you’ll get answers ranging from a mangled tin can to a silver transformer.
Even the New York Times weighed in on the debate, calling it one of the most beautiful art galleries in the world. But whatever you think it is, one thing is for sure: You noticed it.
The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum has become one of the most talked-about architectural landmarks at the University since its construction in 1993.
Designed by California architect Frank Gehry, the front of the building is a collection of several rectangular and cylindrical appendages protruding at disorienting angles. The irregular shapes are covered with a shimmery silver skin that’s flat in some places and wrinkled in others.
At night, the sunset paints the museum in deep reds and oranges, which reflect off the warped panels much like how they riff off the rippling surface of the mighty Mississippi below.
To top it all off, there’s art inside the museum, too.
The building features 11,000 square feet of gallery space to display the University’s large permanent collection, which includes modern works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove and Max Weber.
In addition to the permanent collection, which is on rotating exhibit at all times, the museum is currently displaying the work of Berenice Abbott, a photographer who devoted herself to documenting New York City in the 1930s.
On Sept. 11, the “World Views: Maps and Art” exhibit opens, consisting of maps and art inspired by maps. “Maps are thought to be objective documents, yet they are also aesthetic objects and repositories of cultural values,” according to a description of the exhibit on the Web.
But arguably the best part about the museum is the cost to students: nothing.
Admission is free, although donations are not discouraged. Just don’t go on Mondays, because it’s closed.
— Joe Carlson