The Washington Post has an interesting story covering a semi-private event Mitchell and Emily Rales held to preview plans for their new museum in Bethesda, MD. The couple are not yet breaking ground on the new museum but deliberately building a coalition of local politicians and national aesthetes:
Mitchell Rales, who grew up in Bethesda, declined to discuss the price tag, but people with knowledge of projects of this magnitude said that it could easily top $125 million.
The new building is designed by New York architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, and the 200-acre estate will be newly landscaped by PWP of Berkeley, Calif.
The publicity-shy couple spoke briefly to about 200 people who attended the invitation-only ceremony, which included only two news media organizations. Rising nearly 40 feet behind them was “Split Rocker,” a recently installed Jeff Koons sculpture with a stainless steel hull that is dotted with 27,000 flowering plants and its own irrigation system.
Emily Rales, the museum’s director, said the sculpture exemplifies what the couple is trying to accomplish at Glenstone.
“It is possibly the best embodiment of our mission at Glenstone to combine art and architecture,” she said. “Here we turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.” […]
Former New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger, who is working with the Raleses on the project, described the collection and setting as “more than a place of great and beautiful things. It is also at its very core, a place of ideas.”
Rales family unveils plans for major new Glenstone museum in Potomac (Washington Post)