Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ars Nova

New Art Museum Wing Opening 1

The much-anticipated new east wing of the St. Louis Art Museum opened yesterday. Too much of the collection was in storage. The new wing is devoted to modern and contemporary art, giving the glorious original 1904 building by Cass Gilbert room to breathe.

I gather some architecture critics have already panned it as rather plain. One, quoted in the newspaper, declared that "it fails to dream." The architect, Sir David Chipperfield, maintains that the building was designed for the art and its enjoyment, not for its own sake. I think that both opinions are true. From the outside, the building is an undistinguished box, right angles in shades of gray. The interior holds no surprises, just rectangular spaces. However, there is an ingenious combination of natural and artificial light, all a bit soft, with simple white walls and spacious views. When moving from room to room, the building disappears and the visitor's entire attention goes to the art itself. The new wing is self-effacing, only concerned with its contents, and shows it off superbly.

So much to shoot in coming days. There are more pictures of the museum. The Pridefest parade is today, one of my favorite annual photo-ops. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday bring parades,carnivals, air shows, music and fireworks for our Independence Day celebrations. It's only ten days until we touch down in Calgary. Overwhelming.                     

New Art Museum Wing Opening 4

New Art Museum Wing Opening 2

New Art Museum Wing Opening 3


Tamera said...

We just added on to our Fine Arts Center fairly recently as well. There will always be critics (you can't please everyone), but I think your pictures show what a great new space has been created for everyone to enjoy. It looks wonderful to me!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be Bob, it's the artwork that should be the centre of attention..I think so anyway.

William Kendall said...

Spectacular space, Bob... looks like the kind of gallery I'd enjoy.

Jack said...

When I worked in Columbus, I was on the board of the arts museum as it decided to launch a capital drive to fund an expansion of the museum. The issue you describe is very common for museums. Do you spend crazy amounts to hire a "name" architect and build an ego-driven space to attract attention to the building from the outside and the acclaim of the architectural writers? Or do you build a more economic (and thus less visually spectacular) structure that the community can afford and which will show off the collection? I am afraid that the days of the Medicis funding museums is over. I think St. Louis and Columbus have made wise and economical decisions.

Kate said...

It is far more logical to design a space to showcase the art. I am certainly happy for your city that this seems to be the case for St Louis.