Thursday, August 1, 2013

National Gallery of Art to close East Building for Three Years- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog

Glenn outside The National Gallery's East Building
between a very large Henry Moore 

National Gallery of Art announces $30 million renovation to East Building

From the Washington Post
By Katherine Boyle and Lonnae O’Neal Parker

The National Gallery of Art announced a $30 million renovation on Tuesday that will add more than 12,260 square feet of exhibition space and a rooftop sculpture garden to its East Building. 

That renovation will occur at the same time the museum completes an update to its infrastructure, a process that began with the West Building in 1999. East Building galleries will gradually close from July through December and then remain closed for about three years after renovations begin in January.
The renovated space will include two sky-lit interior Tower Galleries and an outdoor sculpture terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. The two new galleries will house modern art from the permanent collection, including a possible Rothko room, said Deborah Ziska, a spokeswoman for the National Gallery. 

More after the fold...

Inside the Easy Gallery

There was nowhere to grow but up: The new Tower Galleries will be created out of spaces between the ceilings of existing galleries and the skylights. They will be 23-foot-high hexagons. While the gallery has changed the height of its ceiling before — it is raising the ceiling of one tower for its blockbuster “Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes” exhibition in May — the ceilings will permanently stretch to their highest limit after the renovation.
The West Building, created in 1937, was renovated from 2007 to 2009. In that renovation, galleries were closed in groups, but the building remained opened to visitors and many permanent exhibitions remained on display. In this case, the East Building will close for three years, except for the atrium and office buildings. “We have to do them all at one time,” Ziska said. “That’s how the [East Building] was constructed.” 

 View from Above

The East Building, which opened in 1978, allowed the National Gallery to rebrand itself as a much more modern museum. It created an architectural space that enabled the National Gallery to house larger-scale paintings and exhibition pieces that the West Building could not accommodate. The East Building, and the underground connection between the two buildings, created service space for restaurants, gift shops and lectures.
The award-winning I.M. Pei-designed building was a radical departure from John Russell Pope’s conservative West Building design, and it created not only a more flexible gallery space but also a visual imprint that helped the National Gallery attract visitors and international attention. Last year, the East Building accounted for 929,646 of the total 4.2 million visitors.
The National Gallery is also completing an $80 million congressionally funded renovation to the East Building’s marble facade. These repairs began in 2011 and are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The Washington Post article is found here 
National Gallery of Art website found here
East Building Architectural Tour website found here

 Front Face of Easy Gallery

The East building is the only modern building on the Mall and a must see when in Washington. Tragic that it will be closed for three years, at least.  I have seen pleaty of great shows in this building.  And the rooms that house the museums permanent collection are perfectly designed to show large modern work.  The large Henry Moore outside the front door and the large indoor/outdoor sculpture by Andy Goldworthy on the first floor are two of my favorite sculptures in DC. GL

 Andy Goldworthy with his large sculpture

Escalator in East Gallery

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