Glenstone is a contemporary art museum, privately owned by Mitchell Rales, that we are fortunate enough to have right in our backyard. It is located in Potomac, Maryland just outside of Washington, DC and is well worth the trip if you’re nearby. Glenstone is well known for bridging the gap between fine art, architecture, and nature with their collection of about 1,300 works from artists worldwide.
The museum has been open since 2006, undergoing multiple expansions with the latest one completed in 2018, and now sits on an extensive 230-acre wooded campus. Their collection is rather exclusive, only containing works by artists who have already exhibited for at least 15 years. The work consists of paintings, video & sound installations, and both indoor & outdoor sculptures. There is little to no explanatory text for each piece and the entire museum, including the architecture, has a very minimal design.
Glenstone does require visitors to obtain tickets to enter the museum in order to limit entry to about 450 guests a day, but admission is always free. According to Emily Wei Rales, director and chief curator of Glenstone and wife of Mitchell Rales, the limit is imposed to “give lots of space to our visitors, to really give them the time to explore and enjoy”. Rales wrote that she “used a formula to calculate the optimal number of visitors for the museum’s size.”
The museum is comprised of multiple buildings containing various works as well as large outdoor installations around the campus. Richard Serra’s Sylvester, 2001 (pictured above) and Jeff Koons Split-Rocker, 2000 (pictured below) are among the several acclaimed outdoor sculptures you can find at Glenstone.