The Phillips Collection of Washington, DC and the University of Maryland have announced a six-year partnership that will result in the creation of new facilities, educational curriculum and curatorial programming.
A new gallery and open-storage facility will be created by the two institutions in order to display Phillips’s 4,000-piece collection. Having invested $3 million into the partnership, UMD will become the “primary presenter” of the museum’s “Intersections” shows, which “invites artists of today to explore the intriguing intersections between old and new traditions, modern and contemporary art practices, and museum spaces and artistic interventions.”
University officials say they hope the collaboration will result in the creation of a “laboratory for the arts.”
“To really do really good scholarship and research, you need laboratories,” Brian Ullmann, a University of Maryland spokesman, tells WTOP. “What has been missing from the University of Maryland is that laboratory for the arts. Now our faculty in art history and studio arts have access to a world-renowned collection — in effect, our laboratory for the arts.”
Meanwhile, the Phillips Collection is hoping that the partnership will help to expand the museum’s position as an “experiment station,” with new possibilities such as “augmented reality” goggles for visitors that allow views of “deconstructed” paintings while the tour guide discusses brush strokes.
“Imagine completely changing that museum experience and getting into levels of detail that aren’t possible right now,” Ullmann says.
The Phillips’s Center for the Study of Modern Art, its research facility, is also set to be renamed, becoming the University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge at The Phillips Collection. More work will be performed at the center including seminars and study programs, two new postdoctoral fellowships, and the digitization of the 9,500 scholarly books, exhibition catalogues, and correspondence that make up the museum’s collection, writes Robin Scher for Art News.
“This is a pivotal moment in Phillips history,” said the Phillips’s director, Dorothy Kosinski, in a statement to press. “As we look toward the museum’s 100th anniversary in 2021, we intend to redefine its role within the cultural community locally and globally. Together with the University of Maryland…we can reach new audiences, disrupt conventional thinking, and inspire new heights of achievement and impact.”
The announcement comes one year after the Corcoran dissolved, splitting up the school and the collection to George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art and leaving the University of Maryland. The school had been in a partnership with the institution for months before it was ended by the Corcoran, writes Peggy McGlone for The Washington Post.