Best Art Museum - 2011
Boca Raton Museum of Art
A great museum must perform a delicate balancing act of satisfying the public while also expanding and enhancing that same public's cultural literacy. The Boca Museum has long done an exceptionally fine job of giving the public both what it wants and what it doesn't even know it needs. That has especially been true under the leadership of Executive Director George S. Bolge, who is leaving this summer after roughly 16 years at the museum. During his tenure, Bolge has programmed his share of crowd pleasers, including artists as disparate as Picasso, Duane Hanson, and Purvis Young. But he has invariably emphasized less-familiar artists as well. In the past year alone, he has paired an exhibition of Alfred Wertheimer's photographs of Elvis Presley at 21 with a retrospective of relatively obscure American painter Stanley Boxer; coupled a blockbuster M.C. Escher show with a much smaller one focusing on impressionist Mary Cassatt's works on paper; and juxtaposed Italian artist Valerio Adami with well-known American photorealist painter Robert Cottingham. Most recently, he coupled a flashy "CUT! Costume and the Cinema" show with a horizon-expanding look at California impressionism. Let's hope the museum carries on the great tradition he established.