On September 30, 2016, the East Building galleries of the National Gallery of Art, which house the modern collection and several temporary exhibition spaces, will reopen after three years of renovation of existing galleries and construction of new galleries and a roof terrace. A completely new configuration of the permanent collection of modern art will be unveiled to the public on this date.
Constructed with private donations within the existing I. M. Pei-designed East Building (opened in 1978) on the National Mall, more than 12,250 square feet of new spaces for art will enable the Gallery to present more art and accommodate an increasing number of visitors. New stairs connecting all levels of the building and a new large elevator will improve access and encourage visitors to explore the galleries and works of art on all levels.
The new spaces will include the Roof Terrace—an outdoor sculpture terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue—as well as two flanking, sky-lit, interior tower galleries. The Roof Terrace will feature several outdoor sculptures, including the monumental, electric blue Hahn/Cock (2013) by Katharina Fritsch, on view from July 2016 as a long-term loan from Glenstone Museum in Potomac, MD. The northwest Tower Gallery will showcase a lively installation of works by Alexander Calder (1898–1976), and the northeast Tower Gallery will present abstract expressionist works, including a changing selection of paintings by Mark Rothko (1903–1970), most of them given to the Gallery by the Mark Rothko Foundation in 1986 (a gift that made the Gallery the largest public repository of his art). Trees, plantings, and built-in seating will make the Roof Terrace an inviting place to relax, look out over the city, and see the architecture of the East Building from an entirely new perspective.
Hahn/Cock (2013) by Katharina Fritsch
Hahn/Cock (2013) by Katharina Fritsch (German, b. 1956) will be installed on the Roof Terrace in mid-July, two months ahead of the East Building reopening. Originally commissioned for the City of London’s series of temporary public artworks installed in Trafalgar Square, the 14.5-foot-tall sculpture, made of glass fiber reinforced polyester resin on a stainless steel structure, was unveiled on July 25, 2013 and remained on view for 18 months. Hahn/Cock will be on long-term loan courtesy of Glenstone, the museum of contemporary art in Potomac, Maryland, which acquired the work in 2014.
“The relocation of this enigmatic monument from its original site in Trafalgar Square will add a surprising blast of color to one corner of the National Mall, while stimulating fascinating conversations about scale, context, nationality, and representation,” said Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern art, National Gallery of Art.
Free Public Programs
Several new public programs will inaugurate the reopened galleries:
Community Weekend: Celebrating the Reopening of the East Building
November 5, 10:00–5:00
November 6, 11:00–6:00
This celebratory weekend will feature live music and inspiring performances, interactive tours of modern art, and hands-on art making. Explore the reconfigured collection of modern art, showcased in newly renovated galleries, and discover the new outdoor Roof Terrace. All activities are free; participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. A detailed schedule will be available online in September.
Community Weekend is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.
After Hours in the East Building
Second Thursday of the month, October 2016–April 2017
Enjoy a vibrant mix of art and entertainment, including music, films, and live performances, in the newly renovated East Building. Discover the museum’s collections and special exhibitions with fun and interactive events throughout the evening. Tickets required; reserve a free ticket online. Tickets become available on the Friday one month before each program date. All activities are free; food and beverages are available for purchase.
East Building Shop
The East Building will open with a redesigned museum shop, including an exciting assortment of reproductions, publications, jewelry, and giftware inspired by 20th- and 21st-century masters, contemporary art movements, and current exhibitions.
On September 30, 2016, the Gallery will unveil three temporary exhibitions for the reopening of the East Building. In the southwest Tower Gallery, In the Tower: Barbara Kruger will be on view through January 22, 2017, the latest in a series of exhibitions focusing on developments in art since midcentury.
In newly renovated spaces designed to handle the frequent movement of works of art, two exhibitions will premiere. Photography Reinvented: The Collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker, on view through March 5, 2017, brings together a pledged gift of 30 works by critically important artists who have changed the course of photography through their experimentation and conceptual scope. In Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, on view through January 29, 2017, the remarkable career of gallerist and patron Virginia Dwan will be featured front and center for the first time in an exhibition of some 100 works, including highlights from Dwan’s promised gift of her extraordinary personal collection to the National Gallery of Art.
For more information about this Museum, visit our National Gallery of Art page.