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Architect Charles Gwathmey's Last Major Museum Completed
Crocker Art Museum Expansion. Photo: Brian Suhr.

SACRAMENTO, CA.- The Crocker Art Museum has completed construction of a 125,000-square-foot expansion designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA). Opening to the public on October 10, 2010, the Teel Family Pavilion will more than triple the Museum’s current size and enhance its role as a cultural resource for California and the state’s many visitors. One of GSAA co-founder Charles Gwathmey's last major public projects, the Crocker Art Museum expansion complements the 125-year-old Museum’s historic structures, which include one of the first purpose-built art museum buildings in the United States. Nearly $92 million has been raised towards the Crocker Art Museum’s $100 million capital campaign goal.

GSAA Associate Partner Gerald Gendreau, who has worked on the design since its inception, oversaw completion of the building. In anticipation of the fall opening, the Museum has begun moving works of art from its permanent collection—many of which have never been on public view before—into the new space. To facilitate the installation process and the transition of operations to the Teel Family Pavilion, the Crocker will be closed to the public from June 7 until its opening on October 10. The free opening day celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will include activities, performances, and entertainment for children, families, and adults. The day's activities will also celebrate Sacramento's arts community at large, with participation by local and regional arts organizations and artists.

“Works of art can link people together across boundaries of time, and culture, and world views—the ability to have a personal or shared encounter with art is a critical aspect of vibrant civic life,” said Lial A. Jones, Director of the Crocker Art Museum. “California’s Central Valley has one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most diverse communities, and with our expansion we are increasing our ability to serve those communities, strengthen the civic fabric, and draw cultural travelers to Sacramento.”

“Having been a part of this project since master planning first began, it’s been tremendously exciting to watch the building take shape, and now to see construction complete,” said project architect Gerald Gendreau. “The design for the new Crocker Art Museum is about adding to the urban collage—complementing the historic Art Gallery building, tying to the green space that fronts the Museum, even engaging travelers on the adjacent highway—all while giving the Museum flexible spaces for growth now and into the future.”

In addition to extensive new galleries for temporary exhibitions and the display of the Crocker’s permanent collection, the Teel Family Pavilion will include expanded educational and art studio space, an education resource center, a space for participatory arts programming for children and adults, an expanded library, and new student exhibition space. The Anne and Malcolm McHenry Works on Paper Study Center will greatly improve access for visiting scholars and students studying the Crocker’s outstanding master drawings collection. The expansion will also provide space for onsite collections care and storage as well as a new conservation lab. New public amenities, including a 260-seat auditorium, a café with indoor and outdoor seating, and a redesigned Crocker Art Museum Store, are also being added. The first floor will be open to the public free of charge and free Wi-Fi will be available.

Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects’ design strategy for the expansion is to establish a new architectural icon for the Museum and Sacramento, a structure that both complements the Museum’s original Victorian Italianate Art Gallery building and engages with the surrounding cityscape. By placing the addition on a due north/south axis, rather than in line with the street grid and Crocker’s existing structures, GSAA’s design creates a dynamic and harmonious collage of new and historic architecture. Inside, the Teel Family Pavilion galleries are directly connected to the Art Gallery building, allowing for fluid movement between the new and existing spaces and joining the complex together into an integrated whole.

Collection and Inaugural Exhibitions
The Teel Family Pavilion’s extensive new galleries, totaling nearly 45,000 square feet, will allow the Crocker to exhibit significantly more of its permanent collection, which has grown by more than 5,000 objects in the past decade. The Museum’s inaugural exhibitions will focus on showcasing its current collection and promised gifts, in collecting areas including California Impressionism, California Abstract Expressionism, Asian art, and ceramics. The Crocker will also debut two new collections: African and Oceanic art. Pieces from the extensive collections donated to the Museum by sculptor Loet Vanderveen and Miep and Philip Palmer, including massive bis poles, Asmat shields, and African masks, will be displayed in the first floor Friedman Court and a dedicated second-floor gallery in the Teel Family Pavilion. Other key areas of the Crocker Art Museum’s collection include: Contemporary paintings, sculpture, and multi-media works; a comprehensive collection of California art dating from the Gold Rush to the present day; exceptional holdings of master drawings; Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries; and 19th-century Central and Northern European paintings. To celebrate its 125th anniversary and the opening of the Teel Family Pavilion, the Crocker has compiled the first comprehensive catalogue of its collection. Edited by Chief Curator Scott A. Shields, Ph.D., the hardcover volume will feature more than 500 color illustrations, as well as accompanying essays.

The Crocker Art Museum will present a series of special exhibitions to celebrate its opening, among them Wayne Thiebaud: Homecoming, a new retrospective of the work of Sacramento’s most famous artist, who held his first solo exhibition at the Crocker nearly 60 years ago. The exhibition, which coincides with the artist’s 90th birthday, includes 75 paintings and drawings from throughout Thiebaud’s career. Other inaugural exhibitions include: Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years; A Pioneering Collection: Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum; and The Vase and Beyond: The Sidney Swidler Collection of Ceramics. The works of Paul Jenkins, Gottfried Helnwein, and John Buck will be featured in exhibitions opening in the winter of 2011. In summer 2011, the Crocker will present A Summer of Impressionism, with works by renowned French and American artists showcased in exhibitions alongside works by California Impressionists, one of the central strengths of the Crocker’s permanent collection.

The Crocker Art Museum | Gerald Gendreau | Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects | Charles Gwathmey |

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