Artists of Toledo

Toledo’s Unmuseum

“The superpower that an art museum has is when something goes up on the wall, it’s considered good. We set the cannon,” told the new Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, Adam Levine, to in 2022.

The director of the museum really said that! They make their own “artists” now.

the new toledo unmuseum

Watch them take the art out of the museum and rebrand themselves at the expense of Edward Drummond Libbey and the citizens of Toledo. It’s all happening right now. Is it a breach of fiduciary duty to the founders and donors of the museum and to Toledoans? Will the Ohio Attorney General stop it?

Three famous French Impressionist paintings – a Matisse, Renoir and Cezanne – thrown out the door of the white marble pillared museum and sold to the highest bidder, grossing $61 Million, on May 17, 2022.

The remaining French Impressionist paintings were banished to a back-room across the street from the museum in the Glass Pavilion!

The Glass Pavilion was built in 2006 to display the glass collection.

Banished to a back room gallery in the Glass Pavilion — Toledo Museum of Art’s outstanding collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

The Glass Pavilion, with its curved glass walls was built in 2006 to display the museum’s glass collection.

But since then, the leadership of the museum has completely changed. The new people, not from Toledo and with little if any experience running a museum, are having a field day “rebranding” the museum and selling off valuable paintings from the Impressionist collection. They act with no regard for the museum!

The Impressionist paintings hung in two front galleries of the museum — they were often the first galleries a visitor would go to. Off of one of these galleries is the director Adam Levine’s office. He must have hated the paintings so much that he moved them across the street, essentially to the back alley. The paintings apparently represent racism to him and old white man supremacy and offend the newly organized department/Director of Belonging (who has no museum experience but was a reporter at The Blade for many years), not to mention the new Chief People Officer, heading up the new “People” department.

Asian art will occupy the former Impressionist galleries —  contemporary Asian art all the way back to ancient Asian art. Visitors can now contemplate the politics of looted art (which is also on view in the African collection in the opposite front gallery) before arriving at the Great Gallery of European Renaissance and Baroque paintings. Or will their “old master” paintings be banished as well?

It was just last year that they took the American art from the American Galleries in the west wing that had been thusly funded by the Barbers, and moved it all to the back of the museum, shaming the art with controversial wall text.

The relocation of the popular paintings from the museum to the Glass Pavilion makes it hard for visitors with mobility issues to have equal access to artwork. They will have to go down 26 steps to get to Monroe Street, then cross the four-lane busy street without a traffic light to follow a long curvy sidewalk leading to the Glass Pavilion. The  relocation contradicts the principles of the newly formed Access Initiatives Department. This issue exists, in spite of the new Conda Family Manager of Access Initiatives (the department manager’s salary being perpetually funded by an endowment from the Conda family).


The museum can’t stop spending money on surveys and branding and rebranding. Here are some quotes from the design firm, Scorpion Rose Studio, who designed the museum’s new spyglass logo, about how the museum came to them for branding because they wanted to look modern and inclusive.

We answered with a total rebrand, including strategy and a holistic design system, that will help TMA continue its journey toward the kind of modern museum they strive to be – one that has its doors open to all.

We grounded the rebrand on a strategic platform: The transformative power of art is for all of Toledo.

TMA’s previous brand voice – academic, critical, elite – created a barrier to expanding its audience to those who felt historically excluded.


I remember taking art classes at the museum, for over 15 years. Everyone was included, no one felt unwelcome. Then two years ago, they hired a Brand Manager from Colorado for a new branding department who branded the museum “academic, critical, elite” to justify the “new” branding of being inclusive and welcoming, the very qualities the museum possessed from the beginning.

“Nearly all cities of any size in the country have their museums and galleries, which are fast becoming a necessity…. We owe it to ourselves, to the school children of Toledo, and to the future generations to see that our good work shall continue, that we lay a foundation so solid and so complete that the future citizens of Toledo will look back upon this, our pioneer work, with praise and appreciation.” — Edward Drummond Libbey. First annual report of The Toledo Museum of Art.
The Toledo Museum of Art was built on the principle of community.

November 1919 in front of the art museum: looks like inclusion to me.

Toledo Museum of Art Archives
Former City Councilwoman June Boyd and her great grandchildren at the museum, 2021 (posing with a friendly museum guard.)

Adam Levine came to our democratic museum in 2020 as the new director and made a huge blunder right away by saying the museum should remain neutral during the George Floyd crisis. Ever since then he’s been bending over backwards, blaming the museum for being racist, and making radical changes to our museum. Or could it be a smokescreen for selling off our famous Impressionist paintings to private collectors?