Clark Art taps firm to design space at MoCA

Wednesday, May 28
NORTH ADAMS — An architectural firm has been named to design the newest gallery space for the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

The new gallery will be of a slightly different style — it will occupy a building at Mass MoCA — and will be the latest addition to the growing modern art museum that opened in the 13-acre, 700,000-square-foot former Sprague Electric Co. factory in 1999.

Today there are four gallery spaces there, including Kids Space. The 30,000-square-foot Sol Lewitt gallery will open this fall, bringing the total used space at the complex to 380,000 square feet.

The new 29,000-square-foot Clark space is being planned for 2011.

WORK Architecture Co. (WORKac) will design Clark@Mass MoCA. The space will include public galleries and storage for some of the Clark's art collection, library and archives.

Clark officials say they are looking forward to new opportunities to further the Clark's programming and expand its exhibition space, while extending the collaborative relationship between the two institutions.

"The selection of WORKac testifies to the Clark's ongoing commitment to advancing scholarship and public understanding of art in all forms," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark.

He called the firm "highly innovative" and said it will help the Clark "challenge visitors to think about visual arts in new ways."

"With the opening of the LeWitt project in November and with the coming of the Clark, Mass MoCA is becoming a collection of artistic assets and programs — many of which could stand alone as a destination but that together create a truly dynamic site with a multiplicity of cultural attractions all on one campus," said Joseph Thompson, director of Mass MoCA.

Clark officials are calling this the first in a two-phase expansion plan.

The second phase includes a building designed by Tadao Ando, housing loftlike galleries for special exhibitions as well as the renovation of the Clark's two existing campus buildings by Annabelle Selldorf.

Next month, the Clark will open Stone Hill Center, also designed by Ando, which will house the Williamstown Art Conservation Center and smaller exhibition galleries.

In 2007, the Clark bought the building space at Mass MoCA. The area includes a prominent building facing the entrance to the campus. The Clark's relationship with Mass MoCA began in 1996, when the Clark announced plans to fund exhibitions and programs organized by students in the Clark/Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be selected for this commission by the Clark, which has such a distinguished presence in the art world and is establishing itself as a patron of great architecture," said Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, founders and principals of WORK Architecture. "We are excited to join architects Tadao Ando and Annabelle Selldorf in realizing the future of the Clark and look forward to working in North Adams and further expressing and facilitating the collaboration between two extraordinary institutions."

WORKac recently completed the 35,000-square-foot headquarters building for Diane von Furstenberg Studio in the Meatpacking District of New York City, adapting a 19th-century brick building that is similar in character to the buildings at MASS MoCA.


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