Art Institute of Chicago opens doors to its new addition
The opening of the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago is being celebrated today as the culmination of an enormous community effort. The 264,000 sq ft, Renzo Piano-designed addition is the largest expansion in the museum’s history and increases the museum’s size to more than a million sq ft, making it the second largest art museum in the United States.
“The Modern Wing embodies Chicago in so many ways,” said Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the museum. “It is forward-looking and fresh, certainly, but it also represents a monumental and successful philanthropic effort that no other cultural institution in the city can match. The Modern Wing would not have been possible without the unwavering support of members, visitors, donors, and benefactors. It is our hope that the building we open on May 16 shows that all these efforts, support, and patience are rewarded. While the museum itself showcases art of the past and the present, we can now officially say it is built for the future.”
To celebrate the opening the museum are offering free entry for all and for the opening week, the Art Institute is collaborating with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and asks visitors to bring canned goods to the museum to help provide food for the Chicago community.
The new wing consists of two pavilions flanking the central area of the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Court and provides three floors of gallery space, a shop, café, fine dining restaurant and an interior garden. The east pavilion houses the education center as well as photography and film, video, and new media galleries on the first floor, galleries for the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary art on the second floor, and galleries for the permanent collection of modern European art on the third floor, under an innovative sun shade system that allows natural light into the galleries.
In the west pavilion, the first floor is devoted to the new museum shop, the Modern Shop, visitor services facilities, and special exhibition galleries that will feature modern and contemporary art.