The annual series honors Mary McAfee Atkins, a Kentucky schoolteacher who married a Kansas City businessman. After developing a deep appreciation for the arts in her later years, Atkins bequeathed her estate for the establishment of an art museum. The Nelson-Atkins resulted from the combined generosity of Mary Atkins and William Rockhill Nelson.
This is the 17th season of the Mary Atkins Series.
2 0 1 2 S e a s o n
6 p.m. Thursday, November 29
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien
Acclaimed architects, designers of the new Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
Join architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien for an intriguing look at their acclaimed work, from the American Folk Art Museum in New York to the Asia Society Center in Hong Kong.
The Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects firm won the daunting assignment of designing the new Barnes Foundation in downtown Philadelphia, which opened in May 2012. The original Barnes held a renowned collection of art—Cezanne, Matisse,Picasso and Renoir—in an idiosyncratic home outside Philadelphia, accessible only to determined art lovers.
Moving the collection from the beloved home to a new site was controversial at best. But Williams and Tsien brought exceptional grace to the project by creating intimate galleries that replicate the original Barnes, and they surrounded those galleries with light-filled museum spaces, reflecting pools and gardens. The resulting Barnes Foundation was termed “better than new” by Art in America.
Williams and Tsien have worked together since 1977, and today their firm in Central Park South handles projects nationally and internationally. Both also maintain active teaching careers and lecture worldwide.
Made possible through the generosity of BNIM, Helix and El Dorado.
The 2012 Mary Atkins Lecture Series is in memory of David Stickelber, Atkins Trustee, 1994–2007.
"We see architecture as an act of profound optimism."
— Tod Williams and Billie Tsien