CLARK ART INSTITUTE CELEBRATES OPENING OF RENOVATED MANTON RESEARCH CENTER

New galleries and public facilities highlighted in gala weekend of events
For Immediate Release
November 9, 2016

Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute reopens its Manton Research Center on Saturday, November 12 with a weekend agenda of activities celebrating the completion of its campus expansion program. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at noon.
 
The two-day celebration includes a series of public talks, an open house tour of the new facilities, and special dedication events to honor key donors who supported the project. Admission to the museum galleries is free on both November 12 and 13. A special party and concert on November 12 features Grammy Award–winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and his band (tickets available at clarkart.edu).
 
The Manton Research Center, originally opened in 1973, was designed by Pietro Belluschi with The Architects Collaborative. Selldorf Architects, New York was the design architect for the building’s renovation, with Gensler, New York as the project’s executive architect. The 107,460-square-foot building is the home of the Clark’s Research and Academic Program, including offices and facilities for Clark Fellows, a 270,000-volume art research library, and classrooms and offices for the Clark/Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. The building also houses the Manton Gallery for British Art, the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper, and the Manton Study Center for Works on Paper.
 
Key elements of the building’s renovation include the transformation of the former visitor services courtyard into a new reading room; creation of a new works on paper gallery and adjacent study center; and a full renovation of the Clark’s auditorium. Two significant architectural enhancements highlight the reading room––a new skylight crowns the space, which is now distinguished by the addition of two balconies featuring 24-foot-high bookshelves that underscore the building’s purpose as a center for research and study. In addition, important upgrades were made to life safety systems throughout the building, including comprehensive improvements to make the facility fully compliant with all code requirements and welcoming and accessible to all visitors. 
 
“We are so delighted to share the opening weekend with our community,” said Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark. “We look forward to welcoming our friends, neighbors, and supporters to the Manton Research Center to celebrate these magnificent new spaces and to acknowledge the great generosity of those donors who made this project possible.”
 
The building’s name honors a transformational gift made to the Clark by the Manton Art Foundation in 2007 of more than 200 paintings by British artists and $50 million in supporting funds to support research and educational programs. The gift honors the memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, noted philanthropists and collectors.
 
Weekend Schedule of Events
 
Full details of the weekend’s celebratory events can be found on the Clark’s website at clarkart.edu.  They include:
 
Saturday, November 12:

12 pm: Manton Research Center Ribbon Cutting – Members of the Manton Family join the Clark’s leadership in marking the official opening of the building

12:30 pm: Dedication of the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper – Philanthropist and collector Eugene V. Thaw formally opens the gallery named in his honor

12:45 pm: Architect's Talk and Book Signing – Design architect Annabelle Selldorf discusses her work on the Clark campus expansion program and signs copies of her new book, Selldorf Architects: Portfolio and Projects

1-5 pm: Open House – Clark staff members, Fellows, and graduate students welcome visitors to tour the building

6:30 pm: Opening Party and Concert Featuring Arturo Sandoval – The Clark’s auditorium comes alive with the Latin jazz sounds of the Grammy Award-winner and his band (tickets: $75 or $150 at clarkart.edu includes party and admission to concert)

Sunday, November 13

10:30 am: Bennies and Bellinis Breakfast (menu and tickets: $29 at clarkart.edu)

11:30 am: Manton Collection Gallery Talk – Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Jay A. Clarke presents a talk on the Manton Collection of British Art

1 pm: Director’s Talk – The Clark’s new director Olivier Meslay presents his first public talk

1-4 pm: Family Activities – Art-making projects, vintage 1970s-themed family entertainment, and a geologic exploration of the building’s red granite walls
 
 
Manton Research Center Project Elements
 
Major elements of the renovation project include:
 
Manton Study Center for Works on Paper
The Clark’s collection of more than 6,000 prints, drawings, and photographs spans the history of the graphic arts from the fifteenth century through the early twentieth century. Greatly enhanced from the previous study room with abundant natural light and double the space, the new 1,475-square-foot study center provides state-of-the-art storage and broader access to the collection for researchers, scholars, students, and the general public. Visitors will be able to schedule appointments, or drop in during public hours, to request to see specific works.
 
Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper
A 1,350-square-foot gallery dedicated to the exhibition of works on paper is adjacent to the Manton Study Center and is directly accessible from the central reading room. The gallery is named in honor of a $2 million gift from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Photography and Discovery, features selections from the Clark’s growing collection of photographs and highlights more than forty works by American and European photographers.
 
Manton Gallery of British Art
This gallery, dedicated to displaying works from the Manton Collection of British Art, has been refurbished to enhance the experience of viewing art. The 675-square-foot gallery features selections from the Manton collection, which includes more than 300 paintings, drawings, and prints by Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, and others. The collection was donated to the Clark by the Manton Art Foundation in 2007 in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton.
 
Reading Room
A new architectural skylight system has transformed the former visitor services courtyard into a light-filled public reading room. Newly installed balconies featuring library shelving frame the east and west walls of the 2,300-square-foot reading room, surrounding visitors with books and providing a visual expression of the building’s emphasis on research. The books featured on the soaring bookcases are part of the 15,000-volume Allan Sekula Library, which was recently donated to the Clark by the artist’s widow Sally Stein. Library tables and a variety of seating options (much of which was custom designed by Selldorf Architects) provide patrons with an inviting space for reading and research. An adjacent coffee bar and bookstore offer new amenities for visitors. The bookstore specializes in art publications and related merchandise.
 
Auditorium
The Clark’s 290-seat auditorium has been fully renovated to provide a number of enhancements, including accessible seating options on the first floor, a new entrance for patrons using wheelchairs to reach the stage and seating, and improved lighting and life safety systems. Careful attention was paid to ensure that the auditorium’s intimacy, sight lines, and outstanding acoustics were preserved. The auditorium is utilized for a wide variety of programs including live music, lectures, films, academic symposia, and the popular broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera’s The Met: Live in HD, which returns to the Clark on November 19.
 
The Manton Research Center also houses administrative offices for the Clark staff, meeting rooms, and a penthouse-level boardroom and lounge area that provides scenic vistas of the Clark’s reflecting pool and the surrounding woodlands and hillsides. Visitors will be able to explore many of these areas during the Open House.
 
Campus Expansion Program History
 
The Clark’s campus expansion program began with a 2001 master plan created by Cooper Robertson that reconceived the campus. The $170 million program was accomplished in a phased approach. The project included:
  • construction of Stone Hill Center (now known as the Lunder Center at Stone Hill and completed in 2008)
  • demolition of an existing physical plant building (completed in 2012) and extensive sitework
  • construction of new below-grade physical plant facilities (completed in 2013)
  • construction of the Clark Center (completed in 2014)
  • expansion and renovation of the Museum Building (completed in 2014)
  • redesign and reconfiguration of the Clark’s grounds, including installation of more than two miles of walking trails (completed in 2014)
  • renovation of the Manton Research Center (completed in 2016)
 
ABOUT THE CLARK
 
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
 
The Clark Library
 
Established in 1962, the Clark library is one of the nation’s premier art reference and research libraries. The library includes more than 270,000 books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues, with current journal subscriptions numbering around 650. Focusing on post-medieval European and American art, the collection is outstanding in the fields of Italian and Northern Renaissance, Baroque, and nineteenth-century French art, and in the history of photography. Coverage of contemporary art is comprehensive and international in breadth. The library serves as a valued resource for an international audience of students, scholars, Clark Fellows, and researchers. Arranged in open stacks, the library is non-circulating outside the premises, but study areas are available throughout its four floors. The library is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
 
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Daily admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
 
Contact:
[email protected]
413 458 0421