Clark Art Institute

Michael Conforti very generously took us on a tour of the new Tadao Ando extension to the Clark in Williamstown.   He began to think about how to connect the two existing buildings – a 1950s piece of polite neo-classicism and a 1972 work of brutalism – when he first took over as Director in 1994.   He devoted the 1990s to thinking and consciousness raising and preventing the extension to the conservation building which would have scuppered any future plans.   He first met with possible architects more than ten years ago, including Renzo Piano and David Chipperfield.   He chose Tadao Ando in 2001 because of his skill at designing buildings underground which have access to natural daylight.   Much of the building is buried, including the loading dock and services in order not to change the scale of the existing small-scale buildings and surrounding university campus.   Conforti then spent the next decade raising the necessary funds and doing the detailed designs, travelling to Japan once a month.   The first building Ando did (although the last to be designed) was a small exhibition pavilion called the Lunder Center at Stone Hill:




The recent building, opened at the end of June, is well judged, informed by Michael’s deep knowledge of museum history (he did the travelling exhibition about the history of the V&A).   The building reveals little on arrival in the jumbo parking lot:


As one enters, one discovers a large open expanse of water framed by walls of pink granite, looking up towards the original building which has been given a new glass atrium:



It transforms the experience of the original building, whose galleries have also been extremely sympathetically redone by Annabelle Selldorf, who was responsible for the Neue Galerie in New York :



There are also good spaces underground:



One thought on “Clark Art Institute

  1. Lubar, Charles G. says:

    You are getting close to us. We are near Bard at friends home (Londoners). We can meet you at Bard for Amy Sillman, Anne Collier, Olafur Eliasson art or Schubert and his World.

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