It is burnished aluminum. It is Andy Warhol. It is all cool interiors and dramatic geometry. It is the New Wing for Modern Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Two years of construction and nearly a decade of planning have resulted in the museum's latest expansion -- 35,000 square feet cut into 16 galleries for modern art. Butting against the limestone exterior of the museum's Cone Wing, the new wing provides visitors with a visual break that takes them from the world of the Cone sisters and their Matisses to the conceptual artistry of post-war painters like Ellsworth Kelly and sculptors such as Jeff Koons.

The new wing of the Baltimore Museum of Art opens to the public at 1 p.m. Oct. 16. Between now and then several events are scheduled:

* 10 p.m. Oct. 8: Members Gala (open to the public). Call (410) 396-6314

* 2 p.m. Oct. 9: Benefit lecture by BMA trustee and film director, John Waters. Call (410) 235-0100

* 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13: First of three lectures in the series "Meet the Directors: A Dialogue on Modern Art" features Richard Oldenburg of New York's Museum of Modern Art. Call (410) 235-0100

* Noon Oct. 15: Private viewing for BMA members. Call (410) 396-6600.

Growth of the Baltimore Museum of Art

1914 -- Baltimore Museum of Art incorporated. Eight Civic minded Baltimoreans are appointed as incorporators for a new arts institution that would "bring the fine arts into the lives of the citizens and their children." One of them, Dr. A.R.L. Dohme, presents the museum with its first work of art, "Mischief," by William-Sargent Kendall.

1922-1923 -- Museum takes as its first home the Garrett-Thomas house at 101 W. Monument St. Museum is open seven days a week, with free public gallery talks held every Friday and "Illustrated Lectures" held every Saturday. Admission is 25 cents.

1929 -- Museum moves to a six-acre site on Art Museum Drive. Designes by John Russell Pope and others, the orginal building opened to the public on April 18, 1929, with an exhibition of major works from Maryland private collections.

1937 -- Jacobs Wing opens along with Antioch (now Schaefer) Court, featuring mosaics excavated at Antioch in Syria. Acquisition of the mosaics was funded by public subscription, representing the first and only time in the museum's history that works are aquired this way.

1950 -- May Wing Opens

1956 -- Woodward Wing opens.

1957 -- Cone Wing opens, featuring works of Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin and other greats. The collection was bequeathed in 1949 by Etta Cone on behalf of herself and her sister, Dr. Claribel Cone. They were committed to "improving the spirit of appreciation for modern art in Baltimore," and the bequest helped assure the museum's international reputation.

1970 -- American Wing, a partial third-floor addition to the Pope building, opens.

1979 -- Pope, Jacobs, May and Woodward buildings and Antioch Court are renovated.

1980 -- Wurtzburger Sculpture Garden opens

1982 -- East Wings opens, featuring a 363-seat Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Ausitorium, a restaurant, museum shops and the Thalheimer galleries for changing exhibitions.

1987 -- Cone Wing renovated

1988 -- Levi Sculpture Garden joins Wurtzburger to form one large art park.

1994 -- New Wing for Modern Art opens, providing the largest single display space in Maryland for art of the 20th century and the second largest holding in the world of Andy Warhol paintings on regular public view. Construction frees up space in the original Pope building for an expanded display of earlier American paintings and decorative arts. Owner: City of Baltimore (for the building), Baltimore Museum of Art Board of Trustees (for the collection)

Address: Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21218

Cost: $10 million

Architect: Bower Lewis Thrower/Architects; John Bower, principal in charge; James Dart, project architect

Landscape Architect: Mahan Rykiel Associates

General contractor: Costello Construction

Groundbreaking: May, 1992

Public opening: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16, 1994


Address: Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21218

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday

Admission: $5.50 for adults; $3.50 for seniors and full-time students; $1.50 for children 7 to 18; free for museum members and children under 6; free for everyone on Thursday

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