New art museums for DC, Iowa City and San Francisco open this fall


A return to the sources of 14 years. A familiar name in a new place. Presentation of a kunsthalle.

East, West and Middle.

A trio of notable museum openings across the country are bringing more art to more people.

Back home

You’d be forgiven for not including Iowa City, IA on a shortlist of US art hotspots. The University of Iowa home, however, has a leading arts program at the school–Grant Wood taught there and Elizabeth Catlett was an early graduate – with one of the best university art museums in the world. Still. To finish.

Cataclysmic floods in 2008 inundated the old museum building, forcing the sudden evacuation of priceless works from the permanent collection. This included, arguably, the most important painting in modern American art: Jackson Pollock’s Wall.

Commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her New York home in 1943, Wall spans 8 feet by 20 feet, every inch of it is a vibrant, wriggling fantasy. Recognizing the importance of UI’s art program, when Guggenheim closed her The Art of This Century gallery in 1947, she contacted the university’s School of Art and Art History shortly thereafter. . She had previously offered Wall to UI if he would pay shipping from Yale. Deal done. In October 1951, the play headed to Iowa.

With rising waters in 2008, staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to save the art collection, including Wall, but the building was deemed unsuitable after the flood. Unlike it had done with other buildings on the college campus, FEMA turned down funds to build an entirely new facility away from the river. Thus began the 14-year quest to find a new location for the UI Museum of Art, raise funds for the project, and build it.

On August 26, 2022, this process ended and Stanley Museum of Art open to the public.

“The Old Art Museum is a brutalist building from the late 60’s. museums. Additionally, the museum’s location across the Iowa River from the heart of campus meant it was rarely visited by students,” Lauren Lessing, director of the Stanley Museum of Art, told . “The new Stanley is right in the middle of campus and next to downtown Iowa City, and it faces a beautiful little park. The elegant design of the building emphasizes its wide, easily accessible entrance plaza. When you enter the lobby is warm and welcoming. The scale of the interior spaces is generous yet humanizing. You never feel overwhelmed.

Waiting for a new home in Iowa, Wall goes around the world. Over 2.75 million viewers viewed the painting. He traveled more than 20,000 miles to 14 sites in trucks, cargo planes and boats. Venice, Berlin, Malaga, Spain, Bilbao, Spain, London, Kansas City, Washington, DC, Columbia, South Carolina, Boston and New York.

“(Guggenheim) felt that (Wall) could teach students here—and MFA students in particular—to innovate and take risks,” Lessing explained of Guggenheim’s donation of the work to a university far from global art centers.

WallNevertheless, isn’t the only jewel in the Stanley Museum’s crown. by Joan Miró A drop of dew falling from a bird’s wing wakes up Rosalie sleeping in the shadow of a spider’s web. and Max Beckmann Karneval would occupy a place of choice among all the collections of Modern Art. A donation of nearly 800 African art objects in 1984 made the UI Museum of Art a mecca for African art studies. The collection enabled UI to institute one of the first doctoral programs in this field and led to the creation in 1989 of the Project for the Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa.

The Stanley’s inaugural exhibition, “Homecoming”, surrounded Wall with works by Joan Mitchell, Sam Gilliam, Yayoi Kusama and Lee Krasner among others.

“It was devastating to lose our on-campus museum to three generations of UI students. There was a deep desire here, both on campus and in the wider community, to bring back our art collection. home,” Lessing said. “You could feel the palpable joy in the crowd as approximately 6,000 people, from students and alumni to faculty and community members, gathered during of our opening weekend to celebrate the opening of the museum. People were crying in the galleries.

A unique design feature of the new museum: a bespoke freight elevator specially designed to meet the size requirements of Wall.

An ICA for San Francisco

The brand new San Francisco Institute of Contemporary Art opens October 1, 2022. The Bay Area is a renowned hub for art and culture, so why need a new museum?

“What makes great ecosystems in wonderful cities for contemporary art (are) a wide range of different types of arts institutions. You see large civic collecting institutions, you see small nonprofits focused on local art, and you often see medium-sized businesses kunsthallescontemporary art museums that don’t collect,” ICA SF director Alison Gass told Kunsthalle is a German merging word kunst (art) with hall (Hall). “Over the past year and a half when I’ve been back in the Bay Area, various people – collectors and artists and myself – have been saying, ‘San Francisco has wonderful collecting institutions and wonderful little institutions, but it does not work. ‘t have what other big cities have. He did not – in America, Kunsthalles are often referred to as ICA – wouldn’t it be great if there was an ICA San Francisco. Could there be one? What would it look like if there was one? That’s how we started.

Gass served as Executive Director and Chief Curator of ICA San José prior to assuming this position. She has also worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, while serving as director of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

“When you start something from scratch, you have this unique opportunity not to be burdened by legacy or history, so you’re not burdened with having to be an agent of change” , said Gass. “Having the great privilege of not course-correcting, but of bringing certain values ​​to the fore, bringing certain ideas to the fore and really charting a course starting with those, is an exciting way to ‘go forward.”

The first exhibitions of ICA SF reveal some of these values ​​and ideas. Featured artists are a mix of international stars – Jeffrey Gibson – and those chosen by co-curators Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon. The artists also represent the values ​​shared by Gass in the artistic community that the new museum will serve.

“San Francisco art collectors and supporters are incredibly willing and excited to take risks, thrilled to see the intersection between contemporary art and social, political and civic progress and values,” he said. she stated.

Familiar name in a new place

Don and Mera Rubell began collecting art in 1965. They have always focused on underrepresented artists, especially black artists. Their watchful eye and unwavering commitment have resulted in one of the largest and best collections of contemporary art in the world.

The collection became available to the public in 1993, when the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Art Foundation was opened in Miami, Florida.

In 2019, the Rubell family collection expanded to a larger building and was renamed the Rubell Museum to emphasize its mission to share the vast collection of contemporary art with the public. The Rubell Museum has spawned 48 special exhibitions drawn entirely from works in its collection, including “30 Americans” who has been traveling the United States for more than 15 years.

Rubell’s latest adventure comes to life in Washington, DC on October 29. Dedicated exclusively to contemporary art, the Rubell Museum DC will reinvigorate the 1906 building of the former Randall Junior High School, a historically black public school in southwestern DC that ceased operations in 1978. Totaling 32,000 square feet, the museum preserves the original layout of the historic school . What were once classrooms and teachers’ offices will serve as galleries instead.

“We are deeply inspired by the convergence of people and ideas that our Nation’s Capital brings together. Contemporary art speaks to the times we live in and what better place than Washington DC to reflect on the changing world,” Mera Rubell told “We will work to make museum programming in DC sensitive to the context of both the building and the community in which we present our collection. We hope our museum will add to the dynamic dialogue.

The first exhibit, “What’s Going On,” takes its title from the groundbreaking 1971 album by Randall Junior High School alumnus Marvin Gaye, which forcefully condemned the Vietnam War and the destructive realities of injustice. social, substance abuse and environmental neglect. It also refers to the cornerstone of the exhibition: the work of Keith Haring Untitled (against all odds), (1989), a series of 20 works inspired by Gaye’s groundbreaking lyrics.


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