The new Museum at the University of Notre Dame opens to the public December 1-3
South Bend, Ind. – The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, formerly the Snite Museum of Art, at the University of Notre Dame, will open December 1-3,2023 with new site-specific installations by Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin, Mimmo Paladino, Jaume Plensa and Kiki Smith. The Raclin Murphy will also unveil new contemporary acquisitions that complement the institution’s renowned historical and global collection.
The additions to the Museum’s holdings will enhance the new 70,000-square-foot facility that will include state-of-the-art galleries, a cafe, retail space, a chapel, teaching spaces, a teaching gallery and an object study room. The new museum completes the first phase of a 132,000-square-foot complex designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.
Newly commissioned works will enhance the visitor experience in the new museum. “Endless,” a 36-foot stainless steel sculpture by Jaume Plensa, will greet visitors at the Museum entrance. Alphabets of eight different languages on the work symbolize Notre Dame’s commitment to diversity, internationalization, knowledge and global service. The work also metaphorically connects the new Museum with the adjoining nine-acre Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park.
Jenny Holzer’s “Reorder the World” enlivens the Museum’s façade. The 17-foot limestone text carvings offer an innovative take on a classical tradition and celebrate the need for visual arts. Inside, Kiki Smith’s “Sea of Stars” commands the new Museum’s atrium. The circular terrazzo and bronze floor installation features 40 hand-drawn and cast stars that will captivate visitors as they enter the Museum on the main floor and catch their gaze from the second and third floors. The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art honors the Indigenous people in the region and pays homage to the natural environment with Maya Lin’s “Silver St. Joseph (River) Watershed.”
Mimmo Paladino’s artistry will adorn “Mary, Queen of Families”, a functioning chapel at the Museum. Paladino’s stained-glass window, intonaco wall incisions and mosaic artwork on the ceiling are the result of extensive research of the University of Notre Dame, the Holy Cross order, Marian iconography and the region’s natural environment. The large-scale commission will complement the Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces in the chapel.
The Raclin Murphy will also unveil new acquisitions by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Zhang Huan, Dietrich Klinge, Julie Mehretu, David Ocelotl Garcia, Jamie Okuma, Yinka Shonibare, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Dana Warrington, Jason Wesaw and others this fall. The works will join nearly 31,000 objects in the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art’s permanent collection and advance the Museum’s mission to provide “experiences with significant works of art intended to stimulate inquiry, dialogue and wonder for audiences across the academy, the community and around the world—all in support of the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.”
The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art’s collection is one of the most significant among academic museums in the country with important holdings of European masterworks, the Marten collection of decorative arts, works on paper, sculpture, African art, art from the Indigenous Americas and Olmec and Mesoamerican art. These recent acquisitions and newly commissioned works will elevate the Museum’s holdings of global works. The permanent collection, which will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2025, will be reinstalled with new life and vigor, offering reimagined perspectives on cherished artworks.
“The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art affirms the University of Notre Dame’s commitment to the arts. The Museum’s vast holdings position the institution to share global histories through an array of mediums and styles. The storied and celebrated collections have been thoughtfully addressed and reinstalled in a majestic new home where tradition and innovation, the classic and the contemporary meet. The new acquisitions and commissions allow the Museum to connect with its visitors in innovative ways. We look forward to welcoming everyone to experience the new building, explore the galleries and find enjoyment and enriching stories in the works on view,” said Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art.
The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art will join the University of Notre Dame’s expanding arts district that includes the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall of Architecture and O’Neill Hall of Music. The Museum’s second phase will be a 62,000-square-foot complex dedicated to research with additional galleries and space for teaching, a works-on-paper study center, administrative and curatorial offices, open collections storage and an auditorium. Timing for construction of the second phase is to be determined.
The late Ernestine Raclin and her daughter and son-in-law Carmen and Chris Murphy are the lead benefactors of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art. Admission to the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art will be free and open to the public. For more information, visit raclinmurphymuseum.nd.edu.
# # #
About the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art
With origins dating to 1875, the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art (formerly Snite Museum of Art) is considered one of the oldest and most highly regarded university art museums in America. Founded on the principle that art is essential to understanding individual, shared and diverse human experiences and beliefs, the Museum encourages close looking and critical thinking. Experiences with significant, original works of art are intended to stimulate inquiry, dialogue and wonder for audiences across the academy, the community and around the world—all in support of the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. The renowned permanent collection contains more than 30,000 works that represent many cultures and periods of world art history.
For more information on the new building, visit raclinmurphymuseum.nd.edu.
About Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, is an international architectural practice based in New York City offering architecture, urban planning, landscape and interior design services. For more than 50 years, the practice has remained committed to architecture as an art and a profession. As a leading design firm with expertise in residential, commercial and institutional projects, RAMSA believes buildings must gracefully satisfy clients' needs while speaking to the public and elevating everyday life. The firm maintains an attention to detail and commitment to design quality which has earned international recognition, numerous awards and citations for design excellence.
For more information, visit www.ramsa.com.
Communications Program Director
Raclin Murphy Museum of Art