Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Addison Gallery expansion

The Addison Gallery’s renovation and expansion project will add a glassy modern three-level addition (see sketch above) nested between the existing red brick museum and an adjoining building to the left of institution’s main entrance, the Elson Art Center, according to a museum fundraising booklet. The Addison, located at Phillips Academy in Andover, is scheduled to close next July for two years of construction. The work is billed as the museum’s first expansion since it opened in 1931.

“The Campaign for Addison” booklet reports that close to $20 million has already been raised toward the project’s $30 million goal. Some $22 million would be targeted for building costs and $8 million for an endowment to help fund the expanded museum’s increased expenses and programming, with four newly endowed positions: contemporary art and photography curator, education director, web editor and educational outreach coordinator.

In charge of the design is Centerbrook Architects of Connecticut, which, the firm’s website says, helped design an expansion of the Williams College Museum of Art, and has done work for Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art.

Designs reproduced in the booklet indicate that the Addison addition will be primarily devoted to a new “learning center,” library, storage, offices, and art receiving and preparation spaces. The new offices, the booklet says, would allow galleries in the existing museum that had been converted into offices as the museum’s staff grew over the years to be returned to their original function. New storage is expected to provide space to house the museum’s entire art collection – more than 16,000 objects – at the museum, rather than offsite as has increasingly been the case.

The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research previously reported on this project here and here.
Blog Addison reports on the expansion today.
The Globe’s Mark Feeney wrote at the end of a June 2006 report on the museum’s 75th anniversary:
[Addison director Brian] Allen points to a pressing need for more storage and classroom space. "And the building at some point soon has to be renovated," he says.

Any expansion of the galleries, though, runs the risk of threatening the Addison's distinctiveness – of more becoming less. "Our shows have to be smaller because our space is smaller," Allen says. "But that gives our visitors a much more intimate and contemplative experience."

… [Artist, Andover alum and Addison board member Frank] Stella, for one, comes down on the side of the status quo. "In fact," he says with a laugh, "I don't want the Addison to be any bigger. It's one of those places where expansion is a threat rather than a help."


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