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Columbus Makes Art Presents: Nannette Maciejunes on Welcoming Picasso to Columbus

Melissa Ferguson Melissa Ferguson Columbus Makes Art Presents: Nannette Maciejunes on Welcoming Picasso to ColumbusThe Picasso exhibit is the most ambitious exhibition to be presented in the Walter Wing to date. Opening June 10. Photo courtesy Columbus Museum of Art.
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Nannette V. Maciejunes has been the executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art since 2003. She has been integral in bringing the best of the art world to Columbus, including the upcoming exhibition Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change, which opens June 10. She enjoys art of all kinds, especially 20th century American art, Dansko shoes, her grandchildren Avery and Will, and the grilled cheese sandwich at Schokko Art Café.

Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art.

Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art.

Melissa: Why are you so passionate about art?
Nannette: Art is the best of us. It’s the ultimate end of a creative process that allows each and every one of us to express how we view and experience life, which is the essence of humanity.

Melissa: Before you were an executive director, you were a curator. Is curating a creative process?
Nannette: Absolutely. An exhibition is a manifestation of the creative practice of a curator. You take an idea and make it live in the world. It’s an incredible challenge to find the works of art that connect people to your idea, to find lenders that share your idea, and to find funders that back your idea. You pour energy and love and time into something that is quite temporary. A museum exhibition is a moment in time that will never exist again. It’s a unique conjunction of works of art, seen through the lens of an original idea. A truly beautiful moment that is central to what museums do. What’s thrilling about Picasso is that the creative practice reaches into our permanent collection and sheds new light on our Still Life with Compote painting by the artist. After this show, after you see that painting hanging with the other works, you will never see that painting in the same way again.

Melissa: Why curate a Picasso show?
Nannette: People always ask me if the Museum can do exhibitions by famous artists. Yes, we can, and you can’t get more famous in the art world than Picasso. Picasso is one of the great artists of the 20th century. And Picasso is also a great fit for CMA. We at the Museum celebrate the creative process and its results and value the role artists play in our culture. Picasso was a restless creative spirit who embodied the drive for creative expression that is integral to the human experience.

Melissa: Why are you excited to bring Picasso to Columbus?
Nannette: Last fall we opened the Margaret M. Walter Wing to national acclaim. The Wall Street Journal said the new wing has “a distinctive presence.” Picasso is the most ambitious exhibition to be presented in the Walter Wing to date. It represents the Museum’s promise to build an experiential space to showcase the greatest names in the art world. We made that promise, and we are keeping it.

Visit the Columbus Museum of Art at 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215. For more information, visit cmaohio.org.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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