This was my first visit to Glenstone. I'd heard a lot of wonderful things about the museum but was pleasantly moved by the entire experience. The pastoral setting, on 200 acres of rolling hills that used to be a foxhunting estate, in Potomac, MD, is quiet and inspires calm from the moment of arrival. The architecture of the Charles Gwathmey-designed main gallery is serene and impressive yet understated enough that it doesn't overwhelm. The staff is welcoming, gracious, and exceptionally knowledgeable.
We were allowed free roam of the Gallery for a bit before Emily Wei Rales, Director and Chief Curator of Glenstone (and one-half of the couple who founded the museum) gave us a tour of the exhibition and shared her extensive insight into Roni Horn's works.
The first piece in the exhibition, and my favorite, is Pink Tons. Weighing in at 5 tons, this is the largest piece of solid glass on the planet. (It took 8 months to cool after it was poured!) The sides are rough, with a frosted appearance, from having come in contact with the form in which it was cast. The top, however, is smooth. This gives the appearance — even at close viewing range — that the cube is filled with water just to the edge of the overflow point.
Above, left: White Dickinson NIGHT COMES BY EVENT —, 2006-2007, solid aluminum and cast plastic, 42.75 x 2 x 2 inches.
Above, right: Alana Quinn photographing one of Roni Horn's works from the White Dickinson series.
Below: Emily Wei Rales gestures while delivering a talk about the Roni Horn exhibition at Glenstone.
I'm not exaggerating when I say the second room of the exhibition made me nervous. Sculptures from Roni Horn's White Dickinson series are leaned against the walls of the room. In the middle of the room, placed on the floor, is Gold Field, a 49 x 60-inch piece of pure gold which has been pounded to .002 of an inch in thickness. Emily Wei Rales assured me that the piece, despite its fragile, foil-like appearance, has enough heft and solidity to not blow away in the slightest breeze.
Roni Horn has worked with a wide choice of mediums and as a result, the exhibition features examples of the artist's sculptures, drawings, photographs, installations, and works on paper. Particularly mind boggling to me were the works on display in the fourth room. Beginning with two individual drawings, Roni Horn slices them into pieces and uses those pieces to create one, larger work of art. In order to keep track of where the individual pieces came from, or are going, Roni Horn scribbles notes to herself on them. These notes may be the names of musicians or celebrities — whatever happens to be on her mind at the time. The finished products resemble maps while maintaining an abstract quality.
Above: Kelly Paras, in the maroon sweater, for scale.
Above: I used one of the photographs from bird (1998/2008, ten pairs of pigment printed photographs, each 22 x 22 inches) to take a selfie of sorts.
After Emily Wei Rales concluded her talk we took a few minutes for refreshments before two of the docents led us outdoors for a sculpture tour. There are numerous sculptures across the grounds but my favorites were Andy Goldsworthy's Clay Houses (Boulder-Room-Holes), Tony Smith's Smug, and Richard Serra's Sylvester.
Above: Andy Goldsworthy, Clay Houses (Boulder-Room-Holes), 2007 – 2008, clay from on-site excavation, human and animal hair, Carderock stone (quartzite/mica schist), slate, oak, and glass. Each house: 13 feet 2 inches x 16 feet x 19 feet.
Below: Tony Smith, Smug, 1973 / 2005, aluminum, painted black, 11 feet x 78 feet x 64 feet
Below: Richard Serra, Sylvester, 2001, weatherproof steel. Outer spiral 13 feet 7 inches x 41 feet x 31 feet 8 inches. Inner spiral 13 feet 7 inches x 30 feet 8 inches x 24 feet 11 inches.
And of course, a piece like Sylvester, which is intended to be moved through, was a big hit with all the photographers and inspired lots of laughter and silliness. Below, a couple of photos I took of Sylvester with Monling Lee.
Glenstone is in the middle of an expansion which will increase the total size of the museum from 23,000 square feet to 170,000 square feet, with expanded gallery space growing from 9,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. The current gallery space is not impacted by the construction project.
Glenstone is open Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm. All visits are scheduled by reservation, and same-day reservations are welcomed. Outdoor sculpture tours are offered hourly 11am to 3pm, weather permitting, and cover about one mile of varied terrain. It's recommended visitors wear comfortable and durable footwear.
The Roni Horn exhibition runs from March 9, 2017 to January 28, 2018.