Virginia Museum of Fine Arts / Road Trip


With my spring VCCA residency wrapping up, my mother flew down to Richmond to join me for an impromptu mother-daughter road trip back up to the (reportedly still snow-patched) north.

We headed right for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which I’ve been dying to see, and even more so since I found out about the Chihuly glass installation commissioned for their courtyard.  The sculpture garden did not disappoint: lush and green and spacious, and full of modern pieces installed in dynamic interaction with their surrounding space.  People from Richmond had wandered in for lunch at brightly painted cafe tables scattered on the various patios and for picnics on blankets on that hearty green expanse of grass.

We headed up to Amuse for the most sumptuous lunch I’ve had at any museum restaurant (I’m still dreaming of that coq au vin and fresh-baked herbed bread).  And there’s nothing quite like enjoying an exceptional meal with an aerial view of Henry Moore and red glass-reed Chihuly.

Our favorite piece in the garden wound up being Jun Kaneko’s ceramic Untitled, Mission Clay Pittsburgh Project, which you can see in the first picture and which, along with some of Kaneko’s other work, is the largest freestanding sculpture made of clay.  The medium is so unexpected; there is an organic feel to this even form, and Kaneko evokes an expressive depth through the splashed glaze and richly patterned surface.  We were transfixed.


5 thoughts on “Virginia Museum of Fine Arts / Road Trip

  1. Melissa, This looks like a stunning museum — I had no idea! Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. I saw SF Opera do the Magic Flute with Jun Kaneko sets/costumes/videography this last year. It was very special, you might want to look for images online. (I also have a catalog I’d be happy to show you sometime. Kaneko taught at a graduate program I attended for a year, so I’ve followed his work for years). That Chihuly fountain looks gorgeous (I, like many artists who have lived in the NW, have very mixed feelings about his work, but he does hit it out of the park every now and then!).

    VMFA appears to be yet another reason to come back East Coast again soon. Would love to see you and Seth in Baltimore.

    What a great residency — looking back I feel I accomplished so much more than I imagined, but even more wonderful, the inspirational people.



    • Oh, Tori, you would love the VMFA. I’m eager to go back and see more of their collections, so if you come east again at some point, we should go down and visit it together. I’d love to see some of Kaneko’s work in opera. I just looked up a couple images online and it looks like his costuming and set design was stunning. We’ll have to talk more about his work next time we get together!

      It was such a wonderful residency, and I loved getting to know your work on the Hemings opera. I’m eager to hear more as you continue to develop this project!

    • It was such a fruitful couple months, Lorien! It will be so nice to get together and catch up at some point… perhaps in May? Hope you’ve been doing well and enjoying the spring!

  2. Pingback: Museum Picks, VMFA | Starlit Nights

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