Glenstone Schedules October Opening for New Expansion

Modern art museum in Potomac will unveil its new 240,000-square-foot space


The Pavilions, under construction at Glenstone in November


The secluded Potomac art museum Glenstone announced Monday its new 240,000-square-foot expansion will open to visitors Oct. 4.

Glenstone founders Mitchell P. and Emily Rales revealed the public opening date in an email sent to past visitors. Mitchell Rales said in a release the museum staff is "thrilled" to begin welcoming visitors to "this fully recognized experience." 

“Glenstone has changed dramatically since it opened in 2006 with a single 30,000-square-foot building and a 100-acre landscape,” he said. “But throughout this transformation, we’ve maintained a single mission: To create a seamless integration of art, architecture and landscape and make it available free of charge to all who wish to visit.”

The new expansion will include a visitor entrance, two cafes, a bookstore and significant expansion of exhibition space. Visitors to the museum must schedule an appointment online to join free, small public tours and the email noted people wanting to see the new expansion can begin scheduling visits in September.

Known as The Pavilions, the expansion will represent a major addition to the modern and contemporary art museum that currently has a 30,000-square-foot main building known as The Gallery. There will be 50,000 square feet of exhibit space in The Pavilions, compared to about 9,000 square feet in The Gallery.

The expansion also includes an additional 100 acres of “design landscape” and two new outdoor sculptures mixed in among 8,000 trees and 30 acres of pasture being developed into “sustainable meadows, with a range of indigenous flora,” according to a previous press release.

According to the museum, the new space is also expected to help increase attendance from around 25,000 to 100,000 visitors each year.

The new space will initially feature the works of Michael Heizer, Roni Horn, Lygia Pape, Charles Ray and other artists, according to the email.

The museum opened in 2006 and includes about 230 acres of land. Mitchell Rales is a billionaire industrialist who made his fortune as the co-founder of the conglomerate Danaher Corp. Rales and his wife, Emily, have a home next to the museum.

The art displayed at the museum comes from its collection, which was amassed by the couple over the past 15 or so years. The collection includes works by famed artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.

The opening of the expansion is anticipated in the art world—The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Phillippe Vergne, director of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, said he had “museum jealousy” when considering the Glenstone expansion.

“We’re trying to create an experience you can’t find anywhere else,” Rales told the paper’s magazine, which received a preview of the space last year. “Money will never really be an issue. It may present problems in and of itself going forward, because we’ll have to figure out how to wisely spent it. But we’ll never be put in a position where we compromise what we stand for.”

Image: A pond constructed for Glenston's new expansion, The Pavilions. Credit: Glenstone website

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