The New Wave of Private Museums Revolutionizing the Art World

Wealthy patrons have been bankrolling artists for centuries and slapping their names on exhibit halls and museums for years (we see you, Guggenheim). Now they’re going one further, financing private institutions like Glenstone, 15 miles outside Washington, D.C. Co-founders Mitchell Rales and Emily Wei Rales will unveil a massive expansion this October that integrates landscape architecture (by the firm that designed the National 9/11 Memorial), monumental sculpture (Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ellsworth Kelly), and modern and contemporary works drawn from the museum’s collection (Charles Ray, Cy Twombly) to create what Wei Rales calls “unhurried contemplative engagement.” And who doesn’t want more of that these days?

Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia (© Courtesy Museum of Old and New Art)
Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland (© Iwan Baan)
Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil (© William Gomes)
Chichu Art Museum, Naoshima, Japan (© Getty)
Tippet Rise Art Center, Fishtail, Montana (© Erik Petersen/Courtesy Tippet Rise Art Center)
Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa (© Dave Southwood/Courtesy Norval Foundation)