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Chazen Museum of Art announces grand-opening events

October 4, 2011

On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23, the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison celebrates the grand opening of its expansion with open houses from noon–5 p.m. on both days.

The Chazen Museum of Art expansion will officially open later this month.

The community festivities begin at noon on Oct. 22 with a door-opening ceremony including Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, UW–Madison Chancellor David Ward, and Simona and Jerome Chazen. Mark Denning will then perform a Native American dance. Latino Arts Strings, the esteemed music program at the Bruce-Guadalupe Community School in Milwaukee, will perform later in the afternoon. Sunday’s events begin with bagpipers Tom Greenhalgh and Sean Michael Dargan. Pro Arte Quartet will mark a milestone of its own, kicking off its centennial with a world premiere performance of Walter May’s “String Quartet #2” during the opening weekend Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen concert. Later in the afternoon, the captivating Mount Zion Choir will fill the new building with song.

Both days will feature screenings in the new auditorium of “Drama Queens,” a video of a play by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset in which sculptures converse; this is a rare opportunity to see an art video from the permanent collection. Docent-led tours will be offered regularly, and visitors can explore and learn with the Chazen Dozen art scavenger hunt.

The Chazen Museum of Art galleries will be closed to the general public Oct. 17–21 for special appreciation events as well as in preparation for the weekend open houses.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, the museum will have a special university ribbon-cutting and open house for the UW–Madison campus from noon-midnight. Students from the UW World Percussion Ensemble, theatre and drama department MFA students, UW Bhangra, First Wave Spoken Word and the UW Jazz Orchestra will perform throughout the day, and a special new student group, the Chazen Student Ambassadors, will introduce their fellow Badgers to the expansion with regular tours.

The schedule of events follows:

— Thursday, Oct. 20: UW–Madison open house

Noon: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

2 p.m.: UW World Percussion Ensemble performance

2:30 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens,” video of a play by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset

4 p.m.: Theatre and drama department MFA student performance

5:15 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

6 p.m.: UW Bhangra performance

8 p.m.: First Wave spoken-word performance

9:15 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

10 p.m.” UW Jazz Orchestra performance

— Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23: Community open houses

Oct. 22:

Noon: Ceremonial door opening, then a dance performance by Mark Denning

1:30 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

2:30-3 p.m.: Performance by Latino Arts Strings

3:30 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

Oct. 23:

Noon: Performance by bagpipers Tom Greenhalgh and Sean Michael Dargan

12:30 p.m.: Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen with Pro Arte Quartet, in Brittingham Gallery III, Elvehjem Building

1:30 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

2:30-3 p.m.: Performance by the Mount Zion Choir

3:30 p.m.: Screening of “Drama Queens”

— About the expansion

The Chazen Museum of Art furthers UW–Madison’s mission of education, research and public service. Since 1970, the museum’s collection, acquired through the generosity of private individuals, has grown from approximately 1,500 to more than 20,000 artworks. The new building, a beautiful work of art in its own right, provides much-needed space to share these gifts with museum visitors and improved spaces to present enriching programs. With the expansion, works long in storage and new acquisitions will be put on view, along with donations and loans made in honor of the grand opening. Dedicated temporary exhibition galleries also broaden the range of loaned and traveling exhibitions that can be brought to the Chazen.

Features of the new building include:

— double the gallery space for the permanent collection, with new galleries dedicated to African art, Midwest surrealism, 21st-century international art and the Lane collection of modernist sculpture

— dedicated temporary exhibition galleries

— a bridge that joins the two buildings and is also a full gallery and provides a view to Lake Mendota

— a two-story, glass-walled lobby

— a 160-seat auditorium equipped for film and digital projection

— increased art storage space

— copper-clad north-facing light monitors

— object and works on paper study rooms

— a basement studio classroom with a window well that lets in natural light

— a larger museum store

— new outdoor courtyard spaces that connect to a new pedestrian mall on the campus’s north-south corridor

The expansion was made possible by many generous donors. Simona and Jerome A. Chazen, UW–Madison alumni, donated a visionary gift of $25 million toward the museum expansion as part of the UW Foundation’s Create the Future: The Wisconsin Campaign. Formerly known as the Elvehjem Museum of Art, the institution was renamed in honor of the Chazens. The remainder of the capital campaign was completed with the support of more than 140 donors, including alumni and Madison community members. The entire $43 million cost of the building project has been met through gifts and grants from private sources. Groundbreaking on the new building was May 1, 2009. After two and a half years, the new building, which doubles the size of the museum and is connected to the original building by a third-floor bridge, is nearly complete, installed with many significant additions to the collection, and ready to share with the public.

The Chazen Museum of Art is free and open to the public. Visit for more information.