Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

And the winner is…

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The winner of MAN’s America’s Favorite Art Museum Tourney is the Toledo Museum of Art. Toledo defeated the Clark Art Institute. 75.7%-24.3%. Over 5,000 votes were cast in the final and I’d estimate that over 75,000 votes were cast over the course of the tournament. [Image: Toledo’s SANAA-designed Glass Pavilion with its 1912 Green & Wachter building in the background. Info on TMA’s seven-building campus is here. Image via Flickr user taihw.]

So, how did Toledo win? I think the breakdown in this post holds true.

Congrats to the TMA and its fans. If you’re a coastal parochial and haven’t visited the TMA (or the other superb art museums and collections in America’s industrial heartland), consider this a nudge.

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  1. Duane says:

    Maybe the Toledo Museum of Art gets a high percentage attendance from the surrounding population because there is so little else to do, culturally, in Toledo, whereas people in NYC have so many cultural alternatives that even the best art museum can’t expect large percentage attendance. The fact that TMA won is probably more a tribute to their organizational skills in acquiring web voters than to the quality of the museum itself. The fact that the winning museum got only 1% of annual attendees to vote for it in the final round indicates how little the votes reflect the views people who have actually been to that museum.

  2. Brice says:

    Nobody is claiming that the Toledo Museum of Art is on par with the Met. However, it is a far better museum than people seem willing to give it credit for. It’s a shame that people would choose to feel threatened by the results of one web poll, and seek to downplay any virtues the museum might have, rather than appreciating the fact that an under-acknowledged museum in a frankly struggling city is getting some well-deserved recognition.

  3. A.L. says:

    There is no reason to assume that the Toledo Museum of Art is not a quality museum or that many of the voters actually know and believe that it is a great museum. I moved here from NYC of the “so many cultural alternatives” and was blown away by the cultural scene in a city the size of Toledo. Beyond the museum, which objectively has an incredible and comprehensive collection as well as a friendly staff, there is a thriving local art scene, very good symphony, excellent zoo, a drop dead gorgeous historic Victorian neighborhood, and more. Don’t rudely assume that we don’t deserve this recognition. We do. Regardless of the make up of voters. We are up there with the best of the them. I suggest you take a trip and visit us. You won’t be disappointed.

  4. Chelsea says:

    No need to get sour; the Toledo Museum of Art is a wonderful museum! While TMA may not be as large of an institution as others, the variety and quality of work in the museum is exceptional! TMA gets the community involved; putting on events and workshops that everyone can enjoy, and all while keeping admission at an all time low: FREE! Duane, I’m sure you’ve been to many outstanding museums, but i really do hope that one day you’ll pay a visit to the TMA and see what it has to offer. (Yes indeed there isn’t much at all to do in Toledo, that does not mean that the population flocks to the museum simply to kill time. We just love and support our museum)

  5. Rhian says:

    In response to Duane’s comment-Though Toledo may not have as many culteral alternatives as you put it compared to NYC please do not take credit away from our Art museum! It is in actual fact visted by many across the globe not just the locals! I hope one day you may visit our well known, gorgeous and educational asset to see for yourself that it is completely worthy of it’s title of being the winner of the MAN’s America’s Favorite Art Museum. Just an fyi, if you ever visit Toledo, please also visit our Zoo which is also world renowned! I’m assuming you are from or live in New York, or a dedicated fan of the city and while I do appreciate your patriotism may I advise that you not judge unless you have first hand experience.

  6. Deb in Boston says:

    Duane. Get a grip and do some critical thinking. This is not the Toledo of John Denver’s infamous quip “I spent a week there one day….” TMA is a glorious experience and the vote is a testament to the attachment of the community to it.

  7. Meg says:

    The Toledo Museum is a wonderful place….not only is there a great collection, but the building and history of the TMA is right up there with the MET. In fact, it’s possible that the Cloister gallery at the TMA was an inspiration for The Cloisters in NYC. Both museums were developing around the same time and the TMA founder Libbey and Rockefeller had dealings with each other. The TMA is also one of the few free to the public museums around! I love the MET, but having the TMA and it’s programs in my backyard make it even more special!

  8. Diane says:

    Some European friends who lived in Toledo for 6 years told me that they took advantage of the many cultural activities in and around Toledo far more often than they did when they lived in Europe. The tickets here are well priced, the parking is easy, and everything is pretty close by. Those who do venture here from elsewhere (including New York) are well rewarded by visiting the world-class TMA, the zoo, and the many musical opportunities (The Toledo Symphony Orchestra among them). Toledo is a great mid-western city, a great place to raise a family, the residents are friendly – and happy to be here.

  9. Dan says:

    Do you have a problem with Toledo? It seems every time I read something on here from you it is negative. Did somebody from Toledo hurt you Duane? I am sorry. Relax. Toledo has an excellent art museum. It may not have the largest collection, or the most pieces or whatever, it is not not be MOMA or whatever museum you think is great, but it is a wonderful and amazing museum. If nothing else this should show you that the museum is well loved and supported by its community. There is a reason for that. It is a great place. Come on out and visit. I promise I will protect you from whatever awful thing happened to you.
    Seriously dude, it is okay to be happy for Toledo.

  10. Chuck Warn says:

    Congrats to the Toledo Museum of Art.

  11. Margaret says:

    I second Dan. “Seriously Dude, it is okay to be happy for Toledo.” well said.

  12. Appreciaton of Toledo Museum of Art starts in Grade Schools and stays an incentive!

  13. karen e wood says:

    Congrats to Toledo Museum of Art! have been to dozens of museums all over the world and TMA rules! Before you critize it, check it out first. The “fly-over” part of the U.S. has more going on than you think.

  14. Karen says:

    I’m sorry you played your “holier than thou” card so quickly. I actually think you’re really not a lover of art because if you were you would know TMA and what it stands for. I think you’re just filling up this website with negativity and attitude so I’ve included some facts in my response in case you care to actually learn something. Speaking of learning a friend of mine got her graduate degree at Parson’s school of Design and her class would go to Toledo to do research at TMA and the University of Toledo’s Library.

    While the city has struggled economically lately it is one of the few mid-sized cities that has a Museum, Opera, Symphony and Ballet companies, not to mention a world class zoo and botanical gardens. While the Museum is a jewel not just for the city but the art world, it sits in a neighborhood, The Old West End that still represents one of the largest neighborhood of late Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts & Crafts homes East of the Mississippi. Diane is correct that there are many wonderful, and inexpensive, and FREE cultural activities to do in Toledo.

    I’ll admit, I’m a TMA lover as I was born and raised in Toledo and like Dorothy says “appreciation of Toledo Museum of Arts starts in Grade Schools and stays an incentive” is correct. I have not lived in Toledo since leaving for grad school but have lived in many of the cities that had museums in this competition including Chicago and Cleveland (Duane would you have issues with either of these mid-Western city’s winning?) I also travel regularly and have visited other cities that had museums on this competition including NYC as I work for a mid-town based company. My love of art stems from being introduced to art as a school kid by programs run by the museum and the Toledo Public Schools. While the collection might not be as large as the Met, MOMA, or as specific as The Van Gogh in Amsterdam it contains major and important works. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen a special exhibit in other cities including NY and recognized a piece that said, “on loan from the Toledo Museum of Art.”

    I agree with Meg about the TMA’s history and the Cloisters. And while the world now recognizes Dale Chihuly and connects him with Tacoma and The University of Wisconsin-Madison (gasp another small backwoods town), one of his first exhibits was part of a glass blowing exhibit at TMA. We knew and loved him first! While we’re talking history, the history of how the glass industry and artists came together is just as important. Duane, did you know that TMA is recognized as the “Cradle of the Studio Glass Movement?” Historically, 20 short years after it’s founding, TMA’s glass collection already ranked with that of the Met’s, which was at that tine considered the most important in the U.S.

    See Duane, there’s more art lovers and intelligence outside of the coasts. Now job one for you is to leave your negative and closed minded world and get out for a visit. You already have a guide/body guard in Dan. Seriously mid-western people are nice, you’ll be fine.

    Congrats TMA!

  15. Doris Rath says:

    We have enjoyed the Toledo Museum for many years. What wonderful addition ahen the glass museum was built. What a wonderful addition. It shows us all the beautiful cut & art glass in all it’s beauty of years ago and today.

  16. Goliath Lover says:

    OK, the TMA wins in match play. Let’s do it again in medal play, and see how it comes out.

    The comments–on most of the contending museums from all sides–are more or less Chamber-of-Commerce-like testimonials than they are rationally sophisticated weighings of the pros and cons of the competing institutions. The TMA is indeed, a somewhat better museum (yes, yes, I know this is about “favorites,” as in ice-cream flavors, de gustibus non est disputandum, etc.) than the Clark, but by no stretch of the imagination is it anywhere near the Met, which, by any other than a cheerleading competition, would have at least been present in the final.

    I wonder if “Voted America’s Favorite Museum on Tyler Green’s blog, ‘Modern Art Notes,'” will now show up in the TMA’s publicity, or even a plaque near the entrance. If the TMA doesn’t make PR use of the victory, that’ll be an indication of what this contest is really worth. If it does, then the TMA will be right up there with the Mud Hens in terms of being major-league.

  17. Harriet Warnock-Graham says:

    Along with the development of the early collection that made up The Toledo Museum of Art, the founders also began with a mission to teach and make art available to the working class kids of Toledo. While that mission may seems patronizing to some, the consequence over time is a body of artistically sophisticated fans from diverse backgrounds for art, and for the Museum itself. That is one reason for the win.

    Another is that multitudes of us who received our art education at the Toledo Museum of art are well pretty well traveled. We visit art museums wherever we go so we are in an excellent position to judge the quality of TMA. We know that though the TMA has a smaller collection than museums in major cities, it has a very choice collection.

  18. Randy Myers says:

    The Toledo Museum of Art may not be the “best” in the USA but it’s in the top 10 for sure. I appreciated the mummies as a child and grew to love the collections and the opportunities to learn as an adult. Anytime I’m back in Toledo I stop to visit my “old friend” and was more than happy to vote for it as # 1 on the poll. There is nothing as fabulous museum wise anywhere in the Pacific Northwest which is where I reside now.

  19. Marilyn Wuest says:

    It recently came to my attention that even though Toledo is considered the “Glass Capital of the World” all the glass to build our museum came from CHINA. Ain’t that the pits!!!

  20. John says:

    Goliath lover,
    Dude, the contest was for “America’s favorite art museum.” Not the biggest, the wealthiest, or the most comprehensive–the favorite. If that isn’t an invitation for people to express their pride in their local museum, what is? Museums generate that kind of pride by investing in their communities–by developing collections, exhibitions, and programs the community uses and enjoys. By being genuinely welcoming places. Doesn’t it say something positive about a museum if it generates that kind of enthusiasm? And doesn’t it say something positive about a community if it passionately supports its museum? You act like there’s something wrong with that.

  21. Goliath Lover says:

    If “favorite” rested on little else but “pride in their community” and is totally subjective, then there was no need, was there, for comments from fans of the TMA and other expressed-fave museums justifying their votes.

    “Modern Art Notes” isn’t a Sunday supplement with ads for Thomas Kinkade porcelains and profiles of has-been country singers; it’s purportedly and usually a pretty sophisticated forum for issues concerning art. Given that, it was, to put it mildly, a bit disappointing to the likes of MoMA and the Met being ousted by local boosters, and more than a bit enverating to read the supporting comments, which were more along the lines of an election campaign for homecoming queen than a serious judgment on museums.

    Again, now that the TMA has won this contest, I’d be curious to see how much the Museum itself thinks of the victory. Will “America’s Favorite Art Museum —‘Modern Art Notes’ Tournament, 2010″ appear on anything official emanating from the museum? Since Mr. Green might hold another such tournament in the future, the TMA would be advised to hold off on the bronze plaque at the main entrance.

    But thanks for reading my comment, dude (or bro, or homey, or whatever).

  22. John says:

    Goliath Lover,
    Have you ever visited the Toledo museum? I think that if you did you would understand why local people are so enthusiastic about it. A vibrant and successful art museum is more than the paintings on its walls. It is the center of a community of people for whom art is an important part of their lives. I think the “bosterism” you object to (and it came from supporters of several museums, not just Toledo’s) shows that there are a number of communities outside the big cities who really care about art, about art museums, and about the role art museums can play in everyone’s lives. What’s wrong with that? Maybe you just need to be a little less jaded.

  23. chris says:

    ACtually, I am from Toledo, Oh. I lived there 18 years, started touring independently, signed at 22, toured every state in the US more then fifteen times and Canada. I have also been an art enthusiast since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I’ve been to Moca, Moma, and much in between, and I now live in Los Angeles. I feel my opinion has relevance.

    There is not much going on in Toledo for the creative types, and the younger enthusiastic types that would like to strike out with their energy and find like minded spirits. There is a small and close knit “scene” (but not scene in the hipster sense of the word) of artist and creatives that thrive off each other and together living in the Old West End and surrounding areas. They are, such as my self, of course spread through the rest of the city in tattoo shops, under bridges with Rusto, and filling all the cracks.

    One of the few things Toledo does have, it’s true, is an incredible museum. The collection is stellar, the facility impressive, the glass blowing set up unparalleled. I attended University of Toledo on and off while touring independently, and took classes at the art museum. The facilities were decent, the teachers the same, nothing to freak out about. Dyrk Ashton is the best thing to happen to student life and inspiration in the film dept. that school has ever seen.

    In comparison to other cities, like NY or LA, posters are correct. Comparatively, why is someone in NY going to take the time to go online to a website and vote for their museum… do you really need to vote up the Moca or the Moma?? They speak for themselves.

    I find the relevance of the Toledo museum of art to be that for a small, middle of nowhere place that is based on glass manufacturing and Jeep plants, it is incredible and deserves to be held absolutely at the same level as the big leagues. I am someone who has actually BEEN to these places.

    IF you want to talk just building or overall impact a museum has had, Toledo wouldn’t maybe be in the top five. But if you want to talk collection… this vault they have houses at any time TRIPLE what you are seeing in the museum. I wandered through a section of high school artists that hung up over the summer when I flew to visit, and stumbled into a small room off the beaten path. Hanging on the walls were Van Gogh’s original etchings, and prints. Next to them, Bacon. Next to them, more and more. Some of the only print work you could find from these seminal artists was just hanging, as if it were no big deal, without gated bars and stand behind this railing rules.

    You are right. The big museums are better year round. But if you spend one year living in the old west end (and you survive… ha. kidding. Kind of.) and you stop in at the museum for one of the many many many events they have going on year round, you will find you have had your cup more then filled. Sure, Chicago has over a third of a million works of art in it’s museum. But look at the difference in city. Per Capita in every region, TMA performs neck and neck. And all without the hipster, yuppie, traffic jam nightmares.

    However, other then all that, you’ll be so bored you will move. Or, you will spend all your time voting for the TMA.

    Lots of love, all the best to everyone. Be creative!!!

  24. chris says:

    ah, and also, Karen, you are on the money. I take no part in the judgement of that Duane guy because I could care less about that really, but I agree with your statements about the TMA

  25. […]  To pass the time before heading to America’s Favorite Art Museum for a documentary screening, I wander the Warehouse District.  The MudHens haven’t […]

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