NCMA’s entire permanent collection is being moved to the new wing, a dazzling modern building designed by Tom Phifer. Set in a 164-acre park with paths, plazas fountains and an amphitheatre, the new building is set apart from the original museum, a low brick structure. Two spectacular sculptures in the park are a stainless steel tree by Roxy Paine and a hewn cedar sculpture by Ursula von Rydingsvard.
The new building is all about light. Anodized aluminum alternates with floor-to- ceiling windows, topped by an undulating roof, which translates to a modernist coffered ceiling inside. Iconic oval orifices in each ceiling cell emit clear, diffused light. We watched staff installing a vast El Anatsui tapestry made with pieced tiny metal labels and caps from thousands of liquor bottles from his home country of Ghana. His art always make me think of the steady work he must provide for trash pickers. The Rodin sculpture collection is grouped in a light-infused gallery, which opens onto a sculpture terrace with large scale Rodins and reflecting ponds.
The galleries look great. I will look forward to returning when it is completely finished. Maybe I can be there to see the Paper Hand Puppets, a legendary regional performance group.
- Suzanne Hall, Chief Communications Officer, VMFA