Williamstown: Clark Art Institute reopens Friday with a big bang


WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute celebrates the grand opening of its new campus Friday.

The Clark’s opening culminates Williamstown’s annual July 4 festivities. Following the conclusion of the town’s Independence Day parade on Spring Street, the Clark will welcome the community to enjoy a picnic lunch on the Institute’s front lawn beginning at noon. At 1 p.m., an opening ceremony will be held at the main entrance to the Clark’s new Visitor Center, after which the Clark opens its doors. Galleries will be open until 7 p.m. Friday and admission is free.

At 7:30, the Clark will host a concert of patriotic music and American standards by The Eagles Band, followed by fireworks beginning at approximately 9 p.m.

The Clark’s new Visitor Center, designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Osaka, Japan, features more than 11,000 square feet of special exhibition space, with galleries on two floors. A new Museum Store, café and the main admissions desk are also housed in the glass, concrete and granite building.

Indoor and outdoor walkways connect the Visitor Center to the original Museum Building, which has been newly reconceived by Selldorf Architects, New York with renovated and expanded gallery spaces that increase overall gallery space by 15 percent.

A one-acre tiered reflecting pool is the focal point of a dramatic landscape design conceived by Reed Hilderbrand, in Cambridge, which unites the architecture with the 140-acre campus. The landscape design expands the Clark’s walking trails and provides new opportunities to view the spectacular Green Mountain and Taconic ranges that surround the campus.

At Friday’s opening, the Clark’s noted permanent collection will be reinstalled in the Museum Building, which features new gallery spaces for American paintings and European sculpture and decorative arts. Seventy-three of the Clark’s French paintings return to the Institute following a three-year international tour to 11 cities that drew more than 2.6 million visitors worldwide.

In addition, the Clark is presenting three special exhibitions in the Visitor Center and at Stone Hill Center this summer.

In the Visitor Center:

n "Cast for Eternity: Ancient Ritual Bronzes from the Shanghai Museum" opens in the West Pavilion. The exhibit is drawn from the core of the Shanghai Museum’s exceptional collection of bronze vessels and bells dating from the late Xia through the Western Han dynasties (c. 1800 bce-c. 8 ce). "Cast for Eternity" is on view through Sept. 21, 2014.

At Stone Hill Center:

n "Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith." The exhibition assembles nine sculptures and three paintings related to the artist’s Circle series (1962-63). Smith’s boldly painted steel constructions will be on display both indoors and outdoors at the Tadao Ando-designed Stone Hill Center through Oct. 19.

On Aug. 2, the Clark celebrates the opening of "Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950-1975" in the Visitor Center’s new special exhibition galleries. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Clark, "Make It New" examines the different paths taken by abstract painting in the first quarter-century of the postwar period, cutting across geographies and narrow timeframes as it evocatively engages Tadao Ando’s architecture. Featuring key works such as Jackson Pollock’s "Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)," Mark Rothko’s "No. 1" (1961) and Lee Bontecou’s "Untitled" (1962), "Make It New" will be on view through Oct.13.

Following a recent decision to expand the scope of work on the Manton Research Center to include installation of a new skylight system over the central lobby area, the Clark will continue work on the renovation of this building throughout the summer. The Clark’s auditorium will remain operational.


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