J. Carter Brown



Thanks to J. Carter Brown museums ceased to be ivory towers fit only for elites and were transformed into popular establishments open to everyone. Director of Washington’s National Gallery of Art for 23 years, Carter Brown passed away on 17 June at the age of 67. Pioneer in the use of architecture as a means to attract a wider public, he oversaw I. M. Pei’s design of the East Wing extension, which was inagurated in 1978 challenging the conventional concept of the museum as a container to turn it into a work of art on its own terms. During his years as director, the National Gallery started to purchase a noteworthy collection of contemporary art and enlarged its exhibitions to include non-western art, as well as elements for mass entertainment. After leaving his position in 1996, he organized the exhibition ‘Rings: Five Passions in World Art’ on ocassion of the Atlanta Olympic Games. Member of one of the families that led the Industrial Revolution in America and founded Brown University, J. Carter Brown will also be remembered as the president of the jury of the Pritzker Prize since its creation in 1979.

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