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10 outdoor art spaces, parks, and landscapes that have reopened or are reopening soon – The Architect's Newspaper

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As many Americans tentatively ease back into their museum- and park-going routines, numerous cultural institutions and public spaces are slowly coming back to life on a limited/adjusted basis after months of hibernation to greet them, with coronavirus precautions firmly in place. Meanwhile, large, indoor gallery-centered museums continue to plot their eventual returns. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for example, plans to reopen in late August while the Getty Center in Los Angeles has still not announced its phased re-opening dates.

In many locales, a trickle of small but positive re-openings has taken place in recent weeks and/or are slated for mid-to-late July. With an eye toward public landscapes, open-air museums, and multifaceted art spaces with room to spread out, here’s a small sampling of places across the country that have reopened or expanded public access or are due to allow visitors in the very near future.

We will add to this list accordingly.

The Chicago Riverwalk 

Closed to the public in March, the bustling Chicago Riverwalk reopened in June. It’s open to mask-wearing, socially-distancing visitors from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Vendors and recreational opportunities are being brought back in phases, so plan ahead. Elsewhere in Chicago, the 606 reopened to foot and bicycle traffic on June 22.

Crystal Bridges American Museum of Art and The MomentaryBentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges and its contemporary art-focused new sibling, the Momentary, have both reopened with limited capacity. Free, timed-entry tickets are available (along with limited walk-up tickets) for both institutions. Enhanced safety measures are also in effect including the mandatory donning of face coverings and enforced social distancing practices. Certain areas/amenities will also remain closed, limited, or altered for the timing being including a shuttle between the two spaces, which remains suspended. The expansive trails and grounds of Crystal Bridges also remain open for socially distant public enjoyment.

Glenstone — Potomac, Maryland

The bucolic grounds of Glenstone, a private contemporary art museum just outside of Washington, D.C., is currently open to the public from Thursdays through Sundays. (Hard-to-come by advance free tickets are released in three-month increments on the first day of each month.) Ticket-holding guests must adhere to an established schedule to avoid crowds while the museum operates at a reduced capacity. Masks and social distancing are required. On July 23, the museum’s indoor pavilions will reopen with additional safety precautions in place.

Governors Island — New York City

Governors Island, a sprawling and laid-back 172-acre retreat in the Middle of New York Harbor with a West 8-designed back half, but also a National Park Service-administered National Monument site in its northern section, is reopening for an abbreviated season on July 15. Indoor public programming remains postponed while tours and historic sites are canceled/closed until further notice. Outdoor event and athletic field permits are also canceled through at least July 31. Various other amenities and activities will not be available, so plan ahead for recreation of the passive variety like long waterfront walks. Ferries to the island will also run on an adjusted, reservation-only schedule to limit the number of visitors on the island at once. Ferry service from Brooklyn has also been moved from Pier 6 to Atlantic Basin in Red Hook.

Grounds for Sculpture — Hamilton, New Jersey

New Jersey’s Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre sculpture park, arboretum, and museum near Trenton, reopens to members via a timed reservation system on July 16 for the “purpose of solitary recreation.” (Those who want to visit are encouraged to purchase memberships.) Masks wearing is required when social distancing is not possible and buildings/indoor spaces will remain closed aside from public restrooms. Water fountains and food service is also unavailable although the upscale Rat’s Restaurant is open for reservation-only al fresco dining.

The High Line — New York City

For New Yorkers longing to experience The High Line sans the oppressive crush of tourists, now is the time. The park opens on July 16 with limited new hours (noon through 8 p.m.) and a timed-entry reservation system. The only access point to the High Line, for now, is at Gansevoort Street. Visitors who manage to score a batch-released entry pass must wear a face covering and observe social distancing protocols.

The Huntington — San Marino, California

While the library and art museum remain closed until further notice as California retightens its response to the coronavirus, the Huntington’s famed botanical gardens are now open to visitors. Both members and non-members must buy/reserve tickets in advance to gain entry. An abundance of hand-sanitizing stations will be a new fixture on the grounds, and the wearing of face coverings and socially distancing will be strictly enforced. Both visitors and staff must also take and pass a symptom screening and temperature check before gaining entry to the 120-acre horticultural wonderland just east of Los Angeles.

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art — North Adams, Massachusetts 

After a lengthy, COVID-19-induced slumber, Mass MoCA reopened on July 11 to guests in possession of advance, timed tickets. Along with hand sanitizer available in “general supply,” the sprawling museum’s admission area has been moved outdoors and social distancing between parties is requested. Windows and doors will also be open whenever possible to improve indoor air circulation. All tours have been suspended until further notice and all performances/live events will take place outdoors.

St. Pete Pier — St. Petersburg, Florida

Offering a lot more than just a very long pier with an overpriced seafood restaurant and gift shop at the end of it, St. Petersburg’s years-in-the-making revamping of the city’s municipal pier, now the public art-studded offshore centerpiece of a 26-are waterfront recreational and entertainment district, is open to the public after being delayed by the coronavirus. (The Pier and district quietly opened last week at reduced capacity.) Mask-wearing and social distancing are strongly encouraged on the pier and environs; in areas, including inside restaurants, where social distancing is difficult, masks/face coverings are required. All amenities and businesses at St. Pete Pier will continue to adhere to CDC guidelines and follow any and all municipal, state, and county orders during the course of the pandemic.

Storm King Art Center — New Windsor, New York

Located just north of New York City at the foot of the Hudson Highlands, Storm King, a 500-acre open-air museum boasting a sizable collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures, is reopening on July 15 with a first-come, first-served advance ticketing system in place. Indoor amenities/galleries remain closed for the time being; bike rentals, food offerings, and tram service are also suspended. And although there’s plenty of room to spread out, face coverings are required when the six-foot social distancing standards are not possible.

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Irina Antonova, head of top Moscow art museum, dies at 98 – The Record (New Westminster)

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MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia’s top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.

Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world’s longest-serving director of a major art museum.

As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.

She also was very active in promoting the museum’s treasures to the public.

Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”

Antonova will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.

The Associated Press


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Art world star gives back by buying work of the undiscovered – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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NEW YORK — Painter Guy Stanley Philoche, a star in the New York art world, had wanted to treat himself to a fancy watch after a hugely successful gallery show. Then the pandemic hit, and he feared for all the struggling artists who haven’t been so lucky.

So he gave up his $15,000 Rolex dreams and went on a different kind of buying spree, putting out a call on Instagram in late March to any artist anywhere who had creations to sell. The submissions rolled in, hundreds at a time.

He’s spent about $60,000 so far with plans to continue as long as he can, and Philoche’s own patrons have taken notice and asked him to make purchases on their behalf as well.

“It’s about artists helping artists,” said the 43-year-old Philoche, who came to America from Haiti with his family at age 3, nearly nothing to their names.

“I’m not a rich man,” he said, “but I owe a big debt to the art world. Art saved my life, and I made a promise to myself that once I made it, to always buy from artists who hadn’t gotten their big break.”

Philoche has a budget, seeking out works in the $300 to $500 range. He buys only what he loves, from as far away as London and as close as the studio next to his in East Harlem. An abstract mixed-media piece by Michael Shannon, his studio neighbour, was his first purchase, leading Philoche to include him and others he’s discovered in an upcoming group gallery show.

About half the artists Philoche has chosen are people he knows, many in New York. The others sent him direct messages on Instagram with sample work in hopes of being picked.

Philoche, who went to art school in Connecticut where his family settled, has lined the walls of his tiny apartment with his Philoche Collection During Covid, ranging from graffiti-inspired work and portraiture to pop art and a huge pistol done in bright yellow, red and blue paint.

Philoche’s own work goes for up to $125,000 a piece. During a recent interview at his studio, he slid out from storage large canvases from his breakthrough, Mark Rothko-esque abstract Untitled Series and a collection of female nudes with duct tape over their mouths. Often whimsical, he has also produced paintings inspired by Monopoly and other board games, as well as comics such as Charlie Brown.

Among his clients: Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Barclay Investments Inc., along with Uma Thurman, George Clooney and fellow artist Julian Schnabel.

Giving back isn’t something the affable Philoche just recently decided to do. Over his 20-plus year career, he has tried to stick to a simple rule to support other artists: Sell a painting, buy a painting. But it was a chance meeting with a friend and fellow artist who was anxious about the pandemic with a baby on the way that set him on his pandemic buying spree.

“I’m not on the first line, but my community was impacted as well,” he said. “It was just the right thing to do. I love waking up in my apartment every morning seeing the walls. There’s paintings on the floor, all over. Some of these people have never sold a painting in their life.”

His feisty French bulldog Picasso at his side, Philoche recalled his own meagre start in New York after he put himself through art school while working full-time as a bartender.

“People didn’t open the doors for me. I had to get into the room through the back door, or through the window,” he said with a laugh. “But now that I’m in the room, with a seat at the table, I have to open doors for these artists.”

Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

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Irina Antonova, head of top Moscow art museum, dies at 98 – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia’s top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.

Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world’s longest-serving director of a major art museum.

As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.

She also was very active in promoting the museum’s treasures to the public.

Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”

Antonova will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.

The Associated Press


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