MADISON, WI, March 1, 2011—In October 2011, the Chazen Museum of Art will open the doors to a new 86,000-square-foot building designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates. The $43 million addition will add 22,500 square feet of new gallery space on a site adjacent to the current facility—more than doubling the current exhibition space, increasing access to the Museum’s collections, and providing more space for programs serving the campus and the community.
To inaugurate the two new galleries dedicated to temporary exhibitions, the Museum will present new large-scale paintings and previously unexhibited watercolors by artist Sean Scully. A four-day series of performances, special gallery tours, and public programs will celebrate the Museum’s expanded role as a hub for the arts on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus and a leading cultural resource for the region.
“This transformative moment for the Chazen Museum is all about smart growth, an expansion directly connected to our mission to serve the University of Wisconsin campus and the Madison community,” said director Russell Panczenko. “With our new facility, we will be able to offer visitors more dynamic art experiences, continuing to build on our reputation as a vibrant place for learning and inspiration, for students, faculty, and the general public. Our opening exhibition of new works by Sean Scully, alongside a careful reinstallation of our collection, is representative of our approach.”
The addition enhances and pays homage to the Museum’s original Harry Weese–designed building. The two structures, connected via a gallery bridge, frame a section of a new north-south pedestrian mall that runs through the heart of the university’s east campus. A floor-to-ceiling glass mezzanine at the north side of the bridge provides a dramatic view that extends from the new Museum plaza to Lake Mendota. The expanded facility will offer visitors new opportunities to view and engage with the more than 20,000 works in the Museum’s collections, including additional rooms for studying objects and works on paper. A sweeping new lobby will double as a venue for art installations and performances.
The Chazen Museum of Art’s expansion was supported in part by a $25-million gift from University of Wisconsin alumni Simona and Jerome A. Chazen in 2005. Formerly known as the Elvehjem Museum of Art, the institution was renamed in honor of the Chazens. The remainder of the capital campaign was completed with the support of more than 140 donors, including alumni as well as supporters in Madison.
The campaign also spurred donations to facilitate growth in the Museum’s collections, adding more than 400 works through direct gifts and supported acquisitions. This includes a lead gift from Alvin and Terese Lane comprising more than 70 sculptures and 250 preparatory drawings by artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among other modern masters. Other recent acquisitions and promised gifts include Three Standing Figures from 1953 by Henry Moore; Fools’ Congress # 2 by Arnie Zimmerman; In Grandfather’s Arms painted in the late 19th century by Jozef Israëls; an African Numuma (Burkina Faso) Crocodile Mask of the first quarter of the twentieth century; a Chinese Jin Dynasty Cizhou Ware Tiger Pillow; Beth Carver Stichter’s recent clay sculpture A Rush of Blood to the Head; several pieces of contemporary studio glass; and seven contemporary Japanes ceramics.
Many works from the Lane collection will be on view for the first time in October, installed throughout the new building’s 16,000 square feet devoted to the permanent collection. New galleries will be dedicated to African, Asian, Midwest regional, modern, and contemporary art. Important works that have been stored for years due to space restrictions in the current facility will now be made accessible to the public.
In addition to the Sean Scully exhibition, the Museum will inaugurate the new Leslie and Johanna Garfield Gallery with a selection of prints from their collection. The Garfield collection is strong in prints from the American Provincetown school, German Expressionism, and several areas of English printmaking including the Vorticists and the Grosvenor school, of the early 20th century and in contemporary printmakers, especially David Hockney and Richard Hamilton. Each of these areas has been developed in great depth, and includes the recognized masterworks of the genres.
Architecture and Design
The new building will connect to the Museum’s 1970 Harry Weese–designed building with a third-floor bridge gallery that echoes the stonework and strong lines of the existing architecture, creating a contiguous façade as well as a unified interior gallery plan. Weese was an exponent of the period’s classical approach, and the addition reflects elements of his original design with a limestone-clad exterior and copper roof and trim that mimic the aesthetics and materials of the existing building’s façade. The new exterior stone-block pattern gradually evolves from a flat form and finish to a fluted, curved shape that wraps around the new building.
Other features of the new building include:
- a two-story, glass-walled entrance lobby with a limestone “carpet” that climbs upstairs to the galleries
- a 160-seat auditorium
- increased object storage space
- two glass-box galleries
- copper-clad north-facing light monitors
- a new basement classroom with natural light from above
- a new museum store
- new outdoor courtyard spaces that connect to a new pedestrian mall on the campus’ north-south corridor
The expanded Museum will anchor a burgeoning arts district for the university. Planning is underway for new facilities for the music department and performing arts.
About Machado and Silvetti Associates
Machado and Silvetti Associates is an architecture and urban design firm known for distinctive spaces and unique works of architecture in the United States and abroad. Their designs are the result of careful integration of the client’s aspirations, the project’s programmatic requirements, and the nature and character of the place for which a proposal is designed. The work does not espouse any signature style, but strives to find that which is unique and important within a given project, and to express that urbanistically and architecturally. The projects are distinctive for their conceptual clarity and visual intensity.
Machado and Silvetti Associates became incorporated in 1985, although principals Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti have been in association since 1974. The firm’s projects have been of diverse size and nature, having developed special expertise in art museums, educational institutions, and urban design and planning worldwide for Berlin, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Sicily, Frankfurt, San Juan, Pamplona, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Tenerife, Venice, Vienna, and in the United States for major cities throughout New England, in New York, Texas, California, Utah, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arkansas among others.
For the expansion of the Chazen Museum of Art, the architects are working with Continuum Architects + Planners of Milwaukee as the architect of record.
About the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
A dynamic center for education and experimentation in the visual arts on the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Chazen Museum of Art is home to a collection of over 19,000 works of art that represent a diversity of world cultures and span the entire spectrum of art history. The current 90,000-square-foot facility, which was designed by the Chicago architect Harry Weese, opened in 1970. In addition to the Museum, the building houses the Kohler Art Library and the Department of Art History. Gallery space is dedicated to the presentation of the permanent collection as well as a roster of 10 to 12 temporary exhibitions each year.