New director Steven Kern revitalizes the
Everson Museum, in time for its 40th anniversary
his isn’t your father’s Everson. While the spaces for the Cezanne show. Not to
the I.M. Pei-designed bricks-and- fear, however, Kern respects the classics and
mortar has remained the same, the what they mean to Syracuse, so they will
museum’s other attraction, the artwork, return, which is plenty of reason for you to
is being moved, brought out of storage, return, and return, and return.
returned to storage and otherwise high- Back to the present, as you walk from
lighted in a new, semipermanent exhibit. gallery to gallery, you’ll notice something
Modern and Contemporary American Art different in the connecting bridges: noth-
from the Permanent Collection is on view ing. “The bridges we are keeping deliber-
throughout the museum. ately empty,” Kern says, “as Pei intended.
“As we mark the 40th anniversary of the That way it’s easier for you to appreciate the
opening of the Everson’s current building,” building as a work of art.”
says director Steven Kern, “it is high time to Also on permanent display will be a ro-
reconsider I.M. Pei’s accomplishment and to tating selection of video from the Everson’s
By Molly English-Bowers celebrate Syracuse’s true vision.” Kern began closet. “This was the first American museum
the process last fall by removing the tired to collect video, in the 1970s,” Kern notes.
sculptures that occupied the Rosamond “Depending on their original format, they
Gifford Sculpture Court seemingly forever, were no longer viewable. So we have had
instead putting new and, by virtue of their to convert the videos to a digital format.”
novelty, exciting works in their place. Also Video will also be continually looped in
missing are the large paintings that once the first-floor nook by the elevator, Kern
hung 20 feet up, which, by Kern’s reckoning, explains.
was not what Pei had intended. “I try to find different themes to display
“My goal has been to take the Sculpture items in a logical way,” Kern adds. “That’s
Court to its logical conclusion,” Kern says of because the museum isn’t large enough to
the main entry to the Everson Museum of show a comprehensive history of art. But