The Contemporary Austin Debuts Phase One of Laguna Gloria Master Plan

by Brandon Zech May 7, 2019
The Contemporary austin museum store at Laguna Gloria

The Moody Pavilions at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Alexa Johnson.

This weekend, on May 11, 2019, marks the grand opening of phase one of the master plan for Austin’s Laguna Gloria. Sitting on 14 acres on the shores of Lake Austin, Laguna Gloria is the site of The Contemporary Austin’s sculpture park, art school, and historic Driscoll Villa. Consisting of two new buildings — a museum shop and outdoor café — phase one of the site’s redevelopment is dubbed the Moody Pavilions, in recognition of a $3 million grant from The Moody Foundation.

The institution’s new outdoor café, called Épicerie at The Contemporary, takes its name from Austin chef Sarah McIntosh’s restaurant Épicerie Café & Grocery. Next door to the café is the Shop at The Contemporary, a new museum store featuring artist-designed goods and other merchandise, including decor items and stationary.

Liam Gillick art shop at the Contemporary Austin Laguna Gloria

Liam Gillick, Untitled, 2019. Gift shop. Dimensions variable. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2019. Artwork © Liam Gillick. Courtesy the artist. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Colin Doyle.

While other museum gift stores sometime resemble art installations, Laguna Gloria’s actually is one: the interior of the space, which features cherry red modular shelves and cubes, is conceived as a sculptural installation by British artist Liam Gillick. The kunstwerk is finished off with gray walls, display hooks, and a shopping-related quote in black vinyl letters by rapper Theophilus London.

The complex, which is made of steel and glass structures and is designed by the New Orleans firm Trahan Architects, is connected by outdoor terraces and a shaded walkway. Tables and chairs flank the buildings, and greenery and landscaping by Boston’s Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects complete the grounds. Since 2017, Laguna Gloria has also been working to remove invasive shrubs, vines, and trees from its grounds, allowing visitors to view a more natural environment.

Jessica Stockholder at Laguna Gloria sculpture park in Austin Texas

Jessica Stockholder, Save on select landscape & outdoor lighting: Song to mind uncouples, 2019. Powder-coated aluminum lamp poles with LED heads, poured and painted green epoxy resin and acrylic urethane; fiberglass outgrowth; concrete bollards with poured pink epoxy resin; orange fiberglass grating, turquoise plastic lumber, steel joists; landscape. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by The Contemporary Austin with funds provided by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2019. Artwork © Jessica Stockholder. Courtesy the artist; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.

The final addition to phase one of Laguna Gloria’s master plan is the construction of a large-scale sculptural artwork by Jessica Stockholder commissioned by The Contemporary Austin to sit at the sculpture park’s entrance.

Along with the opening of its two new buildings, Laguna Gloria is updating its hours, beginning on May 11:

—Monday–Wednesday: 8 AM–6 PM
—Thursday: 8 AM–9 PM
—Friday–Sunday: 8 AM–5 PM

A free, public grant opening celebration will run from 11 AM to 3 PM on May 11.

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