[PHOTOS] Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A Preview of SLAM's New Addition
The new building will be used primarily to display twentieth-century art, previously confined to a cramped series of galleries on the third floor of the Gilbert building.
The entrance hall of the new building.
(The reason for the exile: Gilbert's hallways and doorways were too narrow to accommodate the larger sculptures and installations artists started making in the second half of the the twentieth century. The only way to get them into the museum was to hoist them up to the third floor by crane and then pull them through the only window big enough. The rest of the modern art collection joined the big pieces in the name of artistic continuity.)
No more! "The museum is strong in twentieth-century art," Benjamin explains. "It was a driving force for the expansion."
Most of the museum's twentieth-century collection, from abstract impressionism onward, will be heading over to the new building.
Hence the clean, modern lines of the new galleries.
And the expansive corridors, ten feet wide and ten feet tall, some hidden underground so workers can move pieces around without running into -- or over -- museum patrons or other priceless works of art.