Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art just outside Washington announced a massive expansion to become one of the largest such private institutions in the United States. /AFP
Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art just outside Washington announced a massive expansion to become one of the largest such private institutions in the United States. /AFP

US art museum Glenstone expands

Art March 19, 2018 01:00

By Agence France-Presse

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A pastoral setting will be home to one of America’s biggest private collections



DIRECTORS OF Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art just outside Washington, announced on Monday a massive expansion set to open October 4 that would make it one of America’s largest such private institutions.

Tucked away on 93 hectares of rolling meadow and woodlands in Potomac, Maryland, Glenstone opened in 2006 with funding from billionaire Mitch Rales and his wife Emily.

The former fox-hunting estate’s natural setting is meant to encourage contemplation for visitors, who can marvel at the art and architecture for free.

Dubbed the Pavilions, the new 204,000-square-foot building designed by architecture firm Thomas Phifer and Partners features a ring of galleries arranged around a large central water court.

PWP Landscape Architecture has completed other grounds that boast two recently installed outdoor sculptures.

Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art just outside Washington announced a massive expansion to become one of the largest such private institutions in the United States. /AFP

It’s a dramatic expansion from the original, 30,000-square-foot building, increasing gallery space by nearly six times and visitor capacity from 25,000 to 100,000 per year, though the number of daily visitors will be limited to ensure a more intimate experience with the art.

The Pavilions looks like a traditional hill town rising out of the earth.

“Throughout this transformation, we’ve maintained a single mission – to create a seamless integration of art, architecture and landscape and make it available free of charge to all who wish to visit,” said Rales.

Visitors can get a sneak peek at the ongoing construction in May – the exact opening date is unknown for now – with a show featuring work by Paris-born French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, known for her giant metal spiders that have spun their webs across the globe.

That show will take place in the original building – the Gallery. The entire museum will be closed in September before reopening the following month.

At the Pavilions, 13 different spaces will present works from the Rales collection. While some of the rooms will show single-artist installations, others will include temporary exhibitions of pieces by various artists.

Among those set to participate in the inaugural installations are Bourgeois, Michael Heizer, Roni Horn, On Kawara, Brice Marden, Lygia Pape, Martin Puryear and Charles Ray.

Most of the work was created after World War II and spans a wide range of media, from paintings and photographic prints to sculptures and installations.

“We’ve worked carefully to create a visitor experience unlike any other, providing each visitor with an unhurried, contemplative engagement with the artworks,” said Emily Wei Rales, the museum’s director.