"Hahn/Cock" by Katharina Fritsch on the roof terrace of the National Gallery of Art East Building (Photo: Rob Shelley; National Gallery of Art)
In September, the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, which houses the modern art collection, reopened after three years. Along with the renovation of existing galleries and construction of new galleries and a roof terrace, there was a completely new configuration of the permanent collection.
The I.M. Pei-designed building, which opened in 1978, now features more than 12,250 square feet of gallery space. The new spaces include the Roof Terrace—an outdoor sculpture terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue—as well as two flanking, sky-lit, interior tower galleries displaying works by Alexander Calder and Mark Rothko, among others. Trees, plantings, and built-in seating make the terrace an inviting place to relax, look out over the city, and see the architecture of the East Building from an entirely new perspective.
Susan B. Wertheim, chief architect; Mark Leithauser, senior curator and chief of design; and Harry Cooper, curator of modern art, sit down to discuss the renovation process, the design of the galleries, and how artwork was selected for the newly renovated space.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit