To welcome the 21st century and in preparation for the Museum's 125th anniversary in 2001, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is undertaking a program of improvements to the galleries housing its internationally acclaimed collections of Modern and Contemporary Art. Occupying some 20,000 square feet on the Museum's first floor, the galleries are closed for renovations until the fall of 2000. The project is supervised by Gluckman Mayner Architects, which has been involved in a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional projects throughout the United States, as well as in England, Spain, Japan and the People's Republic of China. The firm offers a particular focus on the design of art-related facilities, with the design of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, and renovations to the Whitney Museum of American Art among its recent accomplishments. For the Philadelphia Museum of Art, principal architect Richard Gluckman worked in conjunction with the Museum's curators to design the installations of the Brancusi and Cézanne exhibitions (in 1995 and 1996, respectively).
"The galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art are home to some of the Museum's greatest treasures, including Duchamp's Large Glass, Picasso's Three Musicians, and Brancusi's The Kiss, as well as the newest and most experimental work in the Museum's collections," notes Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Now, with the benefit of these carefully considered renovations--the first in 25 years---the architectural spaces of the galleries will be as up-to-date as the remarkable works of art that they hold, and will provide a context equally well suited to the Museum's magnificent collection of early modern art as well as our rapidly growing holdings of the art of today."
During the course of the renovations, a selection of highlights from the collections of Modern and Contemporary Art will be on view in other Museum galleries. Improvements planned for the galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art include enhancements to electrical, HVAC and lighting systems, refurbishment of wall and floor surfaces, and new furnishings. Updated informational and directional graphics are being developed by the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art in conjunction with the Museum's Division of Education, and Department of Editorial and Graphic Design. The galleries will not be architecturally reconfigured, retaining the spare, distinctive character of the Museum's landmark 1928 building interior and the chapel-like space designed in the early 1950s that houses the outstanding group of Brancusi sculpture.
The reopening of the Galleries will coincide with the publication of a handsome new book, Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.