This morning, at a press conference at the New York headquarters of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Walker Art Center announced that it will embark on a $75 million renovation of its Minneapolis home, that it has promoted Fionn Meade, a senior curator there, to artistic director, and that it has hired Nisa Mackie to be its education and public programs director.
The renovation plan includes an overhaul of the brick facade of the Walker’s 1971 Edward Larrabee Barnes building, a new entry pavilion facing the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which is located across the street from the museum, the landscaping of four acres of green space on the museum’s campus, and the “reconstruction” of the sculpture garden, which will be overseen by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The museum will break ground in the fall, and aims to complete the work by the following fall. The sculpture garden work will conclude in the spring of 2017.
The entry pavilion has been designed by architects Joan Soranno and John Cook of the HGA firm, while Petra Blaise and Jana Crepon of Inside Outside are handling the landscaping.
Olga Viso, the Walker’s director, said that the museum is 80 percent done with its fundraising for the project, which includes a $20 million gift from Margaret and Angus Wurtele, the single largest monetary gift in the museum’s history.
Meade joined the Walker last year as senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms, and previously served as curator of SculptureCenter in New York. Mackie comes to the museum from the Biennale of Sydney, where she managed public programs.
The museum will remain open during the renovation, and has on deck a rather toothsome sounding show titled “International Pop,” which opens April 11 and will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.