The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown reopens to the public on Friday, July 4, following a massive renovation, welcoming visitors to explore galleries and grounds and enjoy special Independence Day celebrations on the campus.
Following the conclusion of the town’s Independence Day parade on Spring Street, the Clark will welcome the community to enjoy a picnic lunch on the Institute’s front lawn beginning at 12noon. At 1pm, an opening ceremony will be held at the main entrance to the Clark’s new visitor center, after which the Clark will open its doors. Galleries are open until 7pm, and admission is FREE. At 7:30pm, the Clark hosts a concert of patriotic music and American standards by the Eagles Band, followed by fireworks beginning at approximately 9pm.
The Clark’s new visitor center features more than 11,000 square feet of special exhibition space, with galleries on two floors. A new museum store, café and the main admissions desk are also housed in the glass, concrete and granite building. Indoor and outdoor walkways connect the visitor center to the original museum building containing renovated and expanded gallery spaces that increase overall gallery space by fifteen percent. A one-acre tiered reflecting pool is the focal point of a dramatic landscape design uniting the architecture with the 140-acre campus. The landscape design expands the Clark’s walking trails and provides new opportunities to view the spectacular Green Mountain and Taconic ranges that surround the campus.
The Clark’s noted permanent collection has been reinstalled in the museum building, which features new gallery spaces for American paintings and European sculpture and decorative arts. In addition, the Clark presents three special exhibitions this summer:
Opening July 4, Cast for Eternity: Ancient Ritual Bronzes from the Shanghai Museum is an exhibition drawn from the core of the Shanghai Museum’s exceptional collection of bronze vessels and bells dating from the late Xia through the Western Han dynasties (c. 1800 bce-c. 8 ce). The 32 objects in the exhibition show the range of artistic expression and variety of sculptural forms realized during China’s Bronze Age.
Also opening July 4, Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith assembles nine sculptures and three paintings related to the artist’s Circle Series (1962-63). Smith’s boldly painted steel constructions will be on display both indoors and outdoors at the Tadao Ando-designed Stone Hill Center, re-situating them against a Berkshires setting that is similar to (and less than one hundred miles away from) the Adirondack site where Smith created and installed them.
On August 2, the Clark celebrates the opening of Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950-1975, a show that examines the different paths taken by abstract painting in the first quarter-century of the postwar period, presenting Abstract Expressionist and color field masterpieces alongside other canonical works organized by the formal categories of pattern, texture and shape. Featuring key works such as Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), Mark Rothko’s No. 1 (1961), and Lee Bontecou’s Untitled (1962), the show also includes paintings by Jean Dubuffet, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Ryman, and Cy Twombly.