NEW HAVEN — Harvard, look out! After years of upheaval, the Yale University Art Gallery has reopened on an expanded and renovated site. The result is wonderful. For breadth, depth, and that crucial ingredient (call it the “umami” of gallery-going), a sense of delectation and surprise, there can’t be many museum-going experiences anywhere in the country to rival it.
The collection, like many other college art galleries (but with greater claim to success than most), aims at universality. Yale’s justly famous collections of American, European old master, and modern and contemporary art are complemented by more than respectable holdings in Indo-Pacific, African, Ancient American, Ancient Mediterranean, and Asian art, each of which have dedicated galleries. Photography, prints, drawings, Islamic art, and coins and medals also get a look-in. The American decorative arts displays are a knockout.