The St. Louis Art Museum, or SLAM as most locals know it, recently unveiled their long awaited and long overdue contemporary collection, housed in an entirely new sister building. The elegant addition, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is fully accessible through the east wing of the original building and quite easy to locate once inside. The smell of the white oak floors still tingles in the nostrils as visitors are shown pieces ranging from the post-World War II period to today. Paintings larger than the artists who created them and sculptures as unique as science fiction fill the more than twenty separate galleries. From El Anatsui's "Fading Cloth," a twenty-foot sculpture made entirely out of discarded liquor bottle tops, to Chuck Close's "Keith," an acrylic portrait one can barely distinguish from a photograph; the collection holds something awe-inspiring for any art lover. With some pieces taking up an entire wall, the bulk of the collection was never before seen by the public, making the addition such a genuine treat for the city. A few of the more notable names one will see are Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and Donald Judd, but the works of German painters Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz are sure to leave viewers gazing. If I can give one word of advice before entering the exhibit: just be sure you have plenty of time.
September 9, 2013