This fall, the Chazen Museum of Art
celebrates a major milestone in its expansion with the completion of the new building’s external construction. The program will more than double the gallery space for the presentation of the Museum’s collection—as well as a dynamic roster of temporary exhibitions—when it opens in October 2011. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates, the $43 million addition, on a site adjacent to the current facility, will enhance and pay homage to the Museum’s original Harry Weese–designed building. The two structures, connected via a gallery bridge, will frame a section of a new north-south pedestrian mall running through the heart of the university’s east campus, strengthening the Museum’s role as a hub for the arts on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus and a leading regional art museum.
The expansion of the Museum, which is home to a collection of more than 19,000 works, will add 22,500 square feet of new gallery space, including two distinct galleries for temporary exhibitions. The program will also enhance access to—and engagement with—the collections with new rooms for studying works on paper and objects, as well as a specialized art studio.
“This fall marks the realization of a major component of our expansion, a project that will dramatically transform and enhance not only our physical capabilities but also our presence as a vibrant, welcoming resource for the campus and the broader community,” said Museum director Russell Panczenko. “With the completion of the external structure, we are able to see clearly the beauty and innovation of the new building’s design and the clarity of its relationship to our Weese building.”
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
A floor-to-ceiling glass mezzanine at the north side of the bridge gallery will provide a dramatic view that extends from the new Museum plaza to Lake Mendota.
Collections and Exhibitions
New galleries will be dedicated to African, Asian, Midwest regional, modern, and contemporary art. Recently acquired work—including a major collection of 20th-century sculpture by many of the leading artists of the era—will go on view for the first time in the new building’s 16,000 square feet devoted to the display of the permanent collection. Important works that have been stored for years due to space restrictions in the current facility will also be made accessible.
Strengths of the collection include Japanese woodblock prints, 20th-century modernist sculpture and sculptors’ drawings, late-18th- through early-20th-century British watercolors, and Midwest magic realism.
Current and upcoming exhibitions include: Andy Warhol’s Photographic Studies, Hidden Treasures: Illuminated Manuscripts from Midwestern Collections, and Holy Image, Sacred Presence: Russian Icons, 1500–1900. When the new galleries open in October 2011, the inaugural exhibition will feature work by Sean Scully.