Glenstone Museum to Expand Its Visitor Experience with a Building Conceived for a Large-Scale Work by Richard Serra

By Editorial Team on July 26, 2021

Glenstone Museum has announced plans to construct a building specially conceived to house a major sculpture by American artist Richard Serra, extending the museum’s outdoor program of art, architecture, and landscape along its Woodland Trail. Designed as a collaboration between Richard Serra and Thomas Phifer of Thomas Phifer and Partners, architect of the Pavilions at Glenstone, the building will open in spring/summer 2022.

Rendering of the boardwalk approach to the new building at Glenstone Museum, conceived to house a large-scale Richard Serra work and designed in collaboration between the artist and Thomas Phifer of Thomas Phifer and partners. Located on Glenstone’s Woodland Trail, with landscape design by Adam Greenspan/PWP. Image: The Boundary. Courtesy Glenstone Museum

The 4,000-square-foot concrete structure was commissioned to house a large-scale sculpture that is one of the artist’s most recent works. Visitors will approach by way of the Woodland Trail on the eastern side of Glenstone’s property, following a gently curved path extending from the bridge over Greenbriar Stream, ultimately entering the building through a single, centered doorway. The project expands the visitor experience at Glenstone, adding opportunities for visitors to engage with art and architecture as well as the museum’s surrounding landscape, which is designed by Adam Greenspan of PWP Landscape Architecture.

“Richard Serra’s works have been anchors in the collection since the beginning and Tom Phifer’s vision has come to define the new Glenstone since he designed the Pavilions,” said Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone Museum. “It’s deeply gratifying to work with Richard and Tom again, this time as collaborators, alongside our long-time landscape architect Adam Greenspan. We can’t wait to share this new building and installation with our visitors next year.”

“Creating another building for Glenstone’s extraordinary landscape while working with Richard Serra, without question one of the greatest artists of our time, is the honor of a lifetime,” said Thomas Phifer. “I hope when people come upon this experience they will find it surprising, powerful, and deeply moving.”

For more than fifty years, Richard Serra has used abstract forms to consider the dynamic between material and the space shared by viewer and artwork. Weatherproof steel, which develops a rich patina, has become synonymous with his practice. Two of Serra’s steel sculptures are installed in the Glenstone landscape: Sylvester, 2001, a torqued spiral situated just outside of the Gallery entrance, and Contour 290, 2004, a site-specific, 223-foot-long freestanding ribbon of steel located just beyond the Woodland Trail.

Since the 1960s, Richard Serra has exhibited nationally and internationally and installed more than 100 permanent outdoor works. In 2007, the Museum of Modern Art, New York mounted a retrospective of his work and in 2011, a retrospective of his drawing practice traveled from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Menil Collection, Houston. He has participated in several international exhibitions including documenta (1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987) and the Venice Biennale (1980, 1984, 2001, and 2013). Among many other awards, in 2018 he received the J. Paul Getty Medal and in 2015 he received France’s highest honor as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Visiting Glenstone

Since March 2020, Glenstone has operated in various capacities to support the community’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, offering a mixture of indoor, outdoor, and digital-only engagements. The museum implemented a phased reopening beginning in March 2021 and has since resumed operating the grounds, both art buildings, and outdoor dining services.

At Glenstone, masks are currently required except when visitors and associates are outdoors and more than six feet apart from other households. For a list of current visitor guidelines, please review the Plan Your Visit page on www.glenstone.org.

About Glenstone

Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art, is integrated into nearly 300 acres of gently rolling pasture and unspoiled woodland in Montgomery County, Maryland, less than 15 miles from the heart of Washington, DC. Established by the not-for-profit Glenstone Foundation, the museum opened in 2006 and provides a contemplative, intimate setting for experiencing iconic works of art and architecture within a natural environment. The museum includes its original building, the Gallery, as well as additional structures opened in its 2018 expansion: the Arrival Hall (LEED platinum), the Pavilions, and the Café (both LEED gold).

Glenstone is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are also invited to explore the grounds or participate in self-guided sculpture tours.  Admission to Glenstone is free and visits can be scheduled online at: www.glenstone.org. Same-day visits can be scheduled online.

(Source: Glenstone Museum press release)