Scene on Campus

The long view

At the newly reopened Center for British Art, a picture-packed 140-foot gallery.

Michael Marsland

Michael Marsland

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The Yale Center for British Art reopened this past spring after a roof-to-basement, inside-and-out renovation and rethinking. It’s drawing kudos for what has changed—as well as for what hasn’t. Case in point: the Long Gallery, pictured here. “It’s very exciting to take this back to the original vision” of a study gallery, says YCBA director Amy Meyers ’85PhD. Previously, “the dramatic depth was obfuscated” by temporary walls; now that they’ve been removed, “you can have a sense of how deep and rich the collection is.” The gallery, on the fourth floor of the 1977 Louis Kahn building, is 140 feet long. Unlike in the rest of the museum, paintings here are hung densely from floor to ceiling and grouped thematically. The themes include theater, seascapes, the military, portraits of women, gardens, and many more.

Then there is the renovation behind the renovation. Security, audiovisual, lighting, climate control, and other systems have all been updated, and amenities added: for instance, a new seminar room (visible here) at the east end of the Long Gallery. “We’re conserving the building,” says Meyers, “not bringing it toward the past.”

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