The Contemporary Austin announces Grand Opening of its transformed Laguna Gloria site
April 4, 2019
Featuring new works of art, a café, a museum shop, graceful terraces, and a welcoming entrance for its guests, the new Laguna Gloria will greatly enhance the visitor experience at the museum’s beloved site on the shores of Lake Austin.
Free, public grand opening event to take place May 11, 2019, from 11 am–3 pm.
Museum launches new hours at its Laguna Gloria site beginning May 11, 2019.
Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, announces the grand opening of the new Moody Pavilions at the museum’s Laguna Gloria location. Home to permanent and changing installations of contemporary sculptures in the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, an active Art School serving students of all ages and levels, and the historic Driscoll Villa, the fourteen-acre art-in-nature destination will now include a number of well-designed amenities situated in modern steel and glass structures and outdoor terraces along a shaded, landscaped pathway at the property’s entrance. The museum has also added a new sculptural installation at the site’s entrance by Jessica Stockholder.
The public is invited to celebrate the opening of the new Moody Pavilions at a free event on May 11, 2019. Details about the event may be found at thecontemporaryaustin.org/makeityours.
The first stage of a multi-year project to make The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria more accessible and more reflective of the museum’s mission, the Moody Pavilions enhance the visitor experience at Laguna Gloria through robust amenities presently unavailable at the site. Housed inside modern, steel and glass structures designed by Trahan Architects of New Orleans, these include a visitor center and museum shop, the Shop at The Contemporary; an outdoor café, épicerie at The Contemporary, led by one of Austin’s most beloved chefs and restaurateurs, Sarah McIntosh; and shaded terraces where visitors may linger over a picnic, coffee, glass of wine, or light to-go fare from épicerie—all connected by a canopy-covered pathway and surrounded by lush landscaping designed by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects of Boston. Arranged around the Gatehouse at the entrance to the art-in-nature site, the project also includes a retrofitting of this historic structure to add museum offices and new, modern restrooms and locker facilities for visitors.
In keeping with the mission of The Contemporary Austin to reflect the spectrum of contemporary art in all of its endeavors, the new entrance experience is punctuated by a colorful new interactive sculptural installation by artist Jessica Stockholder. The site-specific sculpture, titled Save on select landscape & outdoor lighting: Song to mind uncouples, was commissioned by The Contemporary Austin and will be visible to visitors as they approach the renewed Laguna Gloria site. In addition, the interior of the retail space—the Shop at The Contemporary—was designed by contemporary artist Liam Gillick.
“I am so proud of the new entrance experience at Laguna Gloria,” said Louis Grachos. “Infused with art, design, and community, each element of the new Moody Pavilions speaks to our mission to reflect the spectrum of contemporary art, while making a visit to the site richer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable to the thousands of guests who come to Laguna Gloria each year.”
Named the Moody Pavilions in honor of a $3 million grant from The Moody Foundation, the new entrance, gardens, and visitor amenities further position Laguna Gloria as a destination for cultural engagement and connection with art and nature unparalleled in the region. In addition to the grant from The Moody Foundation, the project was funded through more than $3 million in total grants from the Still Water Foundation, Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Austin Community Foundation, and O’Shaughnessy-Rivers Fund, along with gifts from board Trustees Jeanne and Mickey Klein, Kathleen Irvin Loughlin and Chris Loughlin, and Jannette and Pat Keating.
THE MOODY PAVILIONS
Designed by Trahan Architects, the new structures comprising the Moody Pavilions occupy a compact footprint at the entrance to Laguna Gloria. Two small buildings—the Shop at The Contemporary and the café, épicerie at The Contemporary—are connected by a walkway, kept cool through the shade of high, white canopies. Incorporating steel, glass, and concrete into a minimalist design, the texture, materials, and shapes of the structures are distinctly modern while complementing the existing, historic architecture at the site. In addition to the café, shop and visitor center, and new restroom facilities, visitors will enjoy two beautifully landscaped and furnished terraces.
SHOP AT THE CONTEMPORARY
The Shop at The Contemporary will feature a unique selection of artist-designed merchandise and other handpicked products from around the world. These include design-based home décor items, hand-carved birdcalls from Germany (a nod to the more than 200 distinct species that have been spotted by birders at Laguna Gloria), a modern rethinking of the picnic basket, stationery, and other items that visitors and shoppers have come to seek in a modern, design-forward museum gift shop.
A key component of the new Moody Pavilions at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, the Shop at The Contemporary features an interior designed by artist Liam Gillick (British, born 1964 in Aylesbury, UK).
"I am interested in the semiotics of the built world. Therefore, I have always tried to find a way to unsettle or intervene within existing structures.” —Liam Gillick
Often suggesting or incorporating function in aesthetically sparse but conceptually complex compositions, Gillick’s work alludes to midcentury modernist architects such as Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, as well as twentieth-century Minimalist sculptors including Donald Judd and Carl Andre. In the Shop at The Contemporary, the artist presents an architectural intervention that functions as a fully operable museum gift shop. “It is a store—it is a display system—it is a constructed art object,” said Gillick. “With a lot of my artwork, it is not clear where the moment of significance might be located. It could be in a small book rather than a large sculpture. The same is true with this project.”
The Shop at The Contemporary is composed of modular shelves and cubes arranged around a circular desk and display case, all painted in solid, cadmium red. Walls are painted a light gray, punctuated with cadmium red display hooks on three walls, with a quote from rapper Theophilus London, “Shopping at any level is a bit of therapy for my medulla oblongata…,” filling the fourth wall in large-scale, black vinyl letters in Gillick’s signature font.
JESSICA STOCKHOLDER, SAVE ON SELECT LANDSCAPE & OUTDOOR LIGHTING: SONG TO MIND UNCOUPLES, 2019
With the eye of a painter, Chicago-based artist Jessica Stockholder (American-Canadian, born 1959) is attentive to how color, form, and abstraction embedded in everyday objects are affective and meaningful. Prefabricated street lamps, grating, and bollards work together to create geometric form, both using volume and as a two-dimensional image. The lines between colors and the edges between materials function as drawing, shaping continuity between parts that includes negative space—such as the triangular volume of air held between the flat orange triangle on the platform and the green arms of the lamp heads above. The top of one lamp morphs into a lump of resin, divided in two by color; the line between the two colors suggests that the orange half of the shape is pushed up against a large green triangle and is left dangling in the vast uncharted space outside of the sculpture. Visitors are invited to touch and explore this work, which, as a viewing platform, draws the surrounding landscape into its vortex.
ÉPICERIE AT THE CONTEMPORARY
épicerie at The Contemporary is the second outpost of épicerie Café & Grocery in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood, led by chef-owner Sarah McIntosh. Situated at the entrance to the park, épicerie at The Contemporary features fresh French-Cajun comfort food for eating on site or taking to go. Creative fare like salmon and kale salad, a lamb meatball sandwich, and a grilled comté sandwich with tomato soup, along with the restaurant’s broad selection of fine cheeses, charcuterie, beer, wine, and gourmet coffee, are available at the walk-up window. Guests may enjoy a meal, snack, or drink within the new shaded terraces, or find a grassy picnic spot throughout the grounds of the fourteen-acre sculpture park. Hours and additional information will be available soon.
HOURS AND ADMISSION AT THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN – LAGUNA GLORIA
The Contemporary Austin is pleased to announce new hours at its Laguna Gloria location:
• Monday–Wednesday: 8 am–6 pm
• Thursday: 8 am–9 pm
• Friday–Sunday: 8 am–5 pm
Admission helps fund The Contemporary Austin’s ambitious exhibition schedule, care for the delicate landscape and heritage trees at Laguna Gloria, and provide education opportunities for children, teens, and adults. Admission paid at either museum location (Laguna Gloria and the downtown Jones Center on Congress Avenue) may be used for entrance to both locations, or applied toward the cost of a museum membership, any time within a week of ticket purchase. Admission charges are:
• Members Free
• Adults $10
• Seniors & Students $5
• Under 18 & Military Free
• Tuesdays Free at both locations
• Thursday evenings (6–9 pm) Free at Laguna Gloria