AUSTIN, TX.- The Contemporary Austin
announced Monika Sosnowska: Habitat, the inaugural exhibition in its newly expanded Jones Center location. Designed by Paul Lewis of LTL Architects, who was also the architect of the original building renovation in 2010, the expansion increases gallery space to 7,000 square feet, along with significant enhancements to the museum's infrastructure, allowing The Contemporary to organize larger-scale original shows conceived by the museum's curators, host touring exhibitions of greater size and breadth, and display larger-scale works of art.
Habitat, the Polish artist Monika Sosnowska's largest solo museum exhibition in a U.S. museum, is a fittingly expansive, and intriguingly inviting, inaugural exhibition for the renovated Jones Center. Sosnowska will fill the museum with large-scale sculptures and constructed spaces that transform the galleries into site-specific backdrops for her works, drawing on the artist's experience living and working among the post-Communist architectural detritus of Warsaw, where she has been based since 2000. Including massive sculptures composed of industrial materials such as steel, concrete, and PVC pipe, Monika Sosnowska: Habitat features several major sculptures commissioned specifically for this exhibition, along with a series of existing works from the last two years situated within a labyrinthine, wallpapered environment newly conceived by the artist for this site.
The Jones Center galleries and the exhibition Monika Sosnowska: Habitat will open to the public on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Museum admission will be free on opening day. Monika Sosnowska: Habitat is on view through February 26, 2017.
The renovation and expansion of The Contemporary Austin - Jones Center also includes enhancements to the museum's roof deck, now named The Moody Rooftop in recognition of a transformative grant from the Moody Foundation of Galveston, Texas. A new permanent, 21-foot-high open-air canopy will provide shelter and shade in inclement weather, add versatility to the space, and enhance the experience of being part of historic Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
On the occasion of the building's grand reopening, the museum also unveils a major new art installation on the rooftop. Floating above the roof's parapet and visible from the street, surrounding buildings, and the roof deck itself, Jim Hodges's With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) is composed of seven-foot-high colorful letters, glimmering with iridescent dichroic film, lit from within by LED lights, and stretching nearly 145 feet across the museum's prominent south- and east-facing facades. In conjunction with this artwork, The Contemporary will present a series of public programs and community initiatives organized on behalf of the artist, engaging a broad range of communities within the city over the life of the work.
The newly renovated building and rooftop, Monika Sosnowska: Habitat, and Jim Hodges's With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) will be celebrated during a special Member-only opening on Friday, December 16, 2016, at the Jones Center. To extend the celebration, on December 17 the museum will offer free admission at both its locations, the Jones Center, 700 Congress Avenue, and the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th Street.
"The Contemporary Austin launched in 2013 with the mission to represent the spectrum of contemporary art through all that we do," said Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin. "The expansion of the Jones Center serves that mission, allowing us to mount exhibitions -- like Monika Sosnowska's -- that we wouldn't otherwise be able to bring to Austin. Along with the increased capacity for the rooftop to host films, concerts, lectures, and more, and the stunning new work by Jim Hodges that will become an icon along Congress Avenue, the enhancement of the Jones Center solidifies its place as an epicenter for contemporary art programs in the region."