After the blockbuster summer exhibit “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes,” the National Gallery of Art is preparing for its announced closure of the East Building to complete infrastructure repairs and maintenance. East Building galleries have been closing steadily since July, and all will remain closed for approximately three years beginning in January 2014. The gallery’s staff will remain at work during the closure to plan for future exhibitions.
While the East Building is closed, it will undergo a $30 million renovation to add more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space for contemporary works. The renovated space will include two interior galleries in the Towers and an outdoor sculpture terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. The two new galleries will contain modern art from the gallery’s permanent collection.
The space is needed. The gallery recently announced that it has received a large bequest of 250 objects from Virginia Dwan, the patron and gallerist, including works by Robert Smithson, Yves Klein, Ad Reinhardt and Agnes Martin. The works are a significant addition to the gallery’s modern and contemporary collections and will be shown in the exhibit “From Los Angeles to New York: The Dwan Gallery 1959–1971” when the East Building galleries reopen in 2016.