2014 Jul 14

New York Times Reviews Clark Art Institute

“A Place of Serene Excitement, Inside and Out” by Roberta Smith, The New York Times, July 10, 2014

What has been achieved at the Clark is not without flaws. Nonetheless, Michael Conforti, its director of 20 years, and his trustees have fashioned their museum into a welcoming, comfortable place, where looking at art is the first order of business, environmental responsibility has become a lived commitment, and education is an increasingly multileveled project. The directors and trustees of every art museum in the country should schedule a visit to the Clark sooner rather than later. I am almost certain the experience would stimulate fresh thinking about what their own museums can be, regardless of size, location or architectural ambition.

The Clark has moved cautiously. Since adopting a master plan and enlisting the Japanese architect Tadao Ando in 2001 and adding the New York architect Annabelle Selldorf to the team in 2007, it has built two new Ando buildings and refurbished its two existing ones from the wall studs out (Ms. Selldorf’s purview). Working with Reed Hilderbrand, landscape architects from Cambridge, Massachusetts, it has reconfigured its 140-acre campus, planting 1,000 trees, protecting wetlands and extending its elaborate network of footpaths.