Washington State University opens new art museum

Washington State University opens new art museum

A bowl full of pins sat on the reception desk with text printed on them reading, “the earth without art is just eh.”

Attendees made their way to the snack bar and grabbed mini red velvet cupcakes topped with white frosting and crimson and gray sprinkles. After WSU President Kirk Schulz cut a giant burgundy ribbon, people rushed through the entryway of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Also known as the Crimson Cube, the museum is encased in shiny crimson panels, which reflect the building’s surroundings and anyone who looks at it.

Jim Olson, the building’s chief designer, said the reflective nature of the Crimson Cube is to make a relatively small building appear bigger in spirit. He said it also allows passersby to see themselves in the reflection.

“Through seeing themselves in the building,” Olson said, “they become part of the art in a way.”

The Crimson Cube houses six galleries, offering 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, an additional 4,000 square feet over the previous museum.

Schnitzer, the Portland art collector and donor of $5 million for whom the museum is named, spoke about featured artist John Baldessari.

There was an instance when Baldessari was offered the opportunity to teach art lessons at a juvenile detention school, Schnitzer said. The boys asked Baldessari if he could get them into the gym at night to play basketball, he said. Baldessari decided to make a deal with them.