Airport, please! We’re off to Maryland, to experience Glenstone, a synergy of great art, architecture and nature
Guided by the personal vision of its founders, Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales, Glenstone is a private contemporary art museum located in Potomac, Maryland, just 15 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.
Glenstone opened its doors to the public in 2006 and has provided discerning visitors with an experience of great art housed in a phenomenal architectural series of building in a beautiful setting. Glenstone seamlessly integrates art, architecture and nature into a serene and contemplative environment. A great destination at any time, now that spring is here and given the seemingly endless restrictions of the covid-19 virus, Glenstone offers a memorable and safe outdoor experience.
The art collection assembles post-World War II artworks of the highest quality that trace the greatest historical shifts in the way we experience and understand art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These works are presented in a series of refined indoor and outdoor spaces designed to facilitate meaningful direct encounters with the works.
The Gallery was designed by the legendary architect, Charles Gwathmey, a founding partner of Gwathmey Siegel. In addition, the Pavilions offer 50,000 additional square feet of exhibition space featuring changing shows focused on the work of a single artist.
Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the eleven Rooms are unique, some hosting changing exhibitions and others conceived to show a particular artist’s work, thus deepening our understanding of the scope and breadth of the work and its place in the history of 20th and 21st Century art.
The rooms are connected by an enclosed passage that looks out onto an 18,000 square foot water court offering the viewer a chance to enjoy nature as well with its cultivation of seasonally changing plant life. In addition, 300 acres of landscape offer a thoughtfully conceived setting for the remarkable art and architecture that includes paths, trails, streams, meadows and forests as well as the extraordinary collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture.
Next week, on April 8th, the museum will open its first touring exhibition of the works of the pioneer artist/quilt maker, Faith Ringgold. The collection of Glenstone Museum includes some of Faith Ringgold’s most politically powerful, flag inspired works. The paintings speak to America’s violent history of racism and injustice. Glenstone is the only venue in the United States for the exhibition which travels on to London’s Serpentine Museum and Sweden’s Bildmuseet.
“Faith Ringgold’s powerful depictions of the African American experience are as arresting today as they were when she first started making art nearly 60 years ago,” Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone, said in a statement. Rales, who is curating the Glenstone exhibition, continued: “Her art has had a strong presence at the museum ever since we displayed one of her iconic paintings in our inaugural installation at the Pavilions in 2018, so it only seemed fitting for Faith Ringgold to be the first touring exhibition hosted at Glenstone. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Serpentine and the Bildmuseet in touring this major retrospective around the world, and in bringing it to American audiences.”
In the South, many of the quilts made during the Civil War were made by African-America slaves on plantations. As an artist concerned with feminism and racem Ringgold had immersed herself in creating story quilts as an expression that acknowledges both cultural and personal history. Domestic arts—sewing, quilting, weaving—have long been associated with women, and her quilting reflects the folk traditions and the struggles and achievements of Black women.
All the more reason to make Glenstone a destination this spring!