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“What a wonderful gift”
Review of Glenstone Museum

Glenstone Museum
Ranked #3 of 15 things to do in Potomac
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Guided by the personal vision of its founders, Glenstone assembles post-World War II artworks of the highest quality that trace the greatest historical shifts in the way we experience and understand art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These works are presented in a series of refined indoor and outdoor spaces designed to facilitate meaningful encounters for our visitors. Admission is always free.
Reviewed December 11, 2017

How often does one get to see the private art collection from a world class class collector who probably has the resources to purchase exactly what they want? While you need to make a reservation, there is no admission fee. The art is "modern" or "post-modern" (I know nothing about the intellectual side of art) and presumable not collected for the public, and yet this family has essentially let us into their home to see their collection. Whether their tastes appeal to you or not; is irrelevant. After all how else would you know if you do not take the opportunity to experience different types of art. The students or fellows who work there are clearly knowledgeable about art and are very eager to help us to understand.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank guilford417
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"outdoor sculptures"
in 12 reviews
"modern art"
in 11 reviews
"richard serra"
in 7 reviews
"private collection"
in 5 reviews
"free tickets"
in 4 reviews
"large scale"
in 4 reviews
"on display"
in 5 reviews
"ask questions"
in 3 reviews
"current exhibit"
in 3 reviews
"new building"
in 3 reviews
"beautiful property"
in 3 reviews
"memorable afternoon"
in 2 reviews
"jasper johns"
in 2 reviews
"jackson pollock"
in 2 reviews
"art pieces"
in 2 reviews
"soups"
in 2 reviews
"knowledgeable docents"
in 2 reviews
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Reviewed December 9, 2017

Glenstone provides a revelatory experience and an opportunity to view modern art works of the highest quality. For days after each visit, I ruminate on the ways the visit opened my eyes to new facets of art. Set in a magnificently sculptured landscape and housed in exquisitely designed galleries, the Glenstone Museum is becoming better known among modern art lovers since the publication of articles in the Wall Street Journal and other prominent media. Off the beaten path for Washington, DC tourists, it is a short drive outside the beltway, just north of Potomac, Maryland, via River Road, past bucolic suburban neighborhoods in Maryland’s former fox-hunting territory.

Though the entrance is free, it requires tickets obtainable via the Glenstone website. The careful management of attendance allows for a semi-private visit, in which you are able to explore each work in solitude and without being rushed. The visit usually begins with a walk around the grounds to better appreciate the architecture and view magnificent sculptures by Richard Serra, Jeff Koons, Ellsworth Kelly, Tony Smith, etc.

The indoor exhibits are normally focused on one artist, and never more than a few. All works are displayed per the artist’s instructions in a beautiful, modern building. Indoors, you will see few guides scattered throughout the building. So as not to interfere with your exploration of the art works or interfere with your exploration, the guides are encouraged to follow your lead. So, feel free to ask about the art, architecture, landscaping, and future plans for the museum. Whenever I find a piece that I can't figure out, I engage the guides in conversation (about the artist, the materials, process, etc.) to gain a new perspective that often helps me gain useful insights on the work.

For some reason, our five visits to Glenstone over the years have taken place during the cold months. We’re now looking forward to returning in May, when there will be a new exhibit, the flowers and meadows will be in bloom, and the trees will be dressed with new coats of leaves.

Date of experience: December 2017
1  Thank FJGonzalezG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2017

I live a stones throw away from Glenstone and for years, I have been intrigued by the construction of this "compound" and all the security measures that are in place. Needless to say, "Google" comes in handy and reading up on Mitchell and Emily Rales, their 200 acre estate and its conversion over the years in none-other than the zip code of 20854 sparked a much needed visit on a lovely Sunday afternoon in mid summer.

The Rales clearly have a love for modern and contemporary art and though not necessarily my cup of tea, I cannot help but appreciate their love and passion for it and clear hospitality and philanthropic approach to sharing their home and investment to the public.

Prior reviews of this facility are far too harsh, "A museum without Art and "Probably not worth your time and substandard artwork" in that a one star rating and hostility toward the lack of artwork or appreciation for specific artists is somewhat a parochial view, however, do your due diligence prior to going so that what artists are claimed to be on exhibition to the public are indeed available, make sure the weather is favorable and simply enjoy!

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank gatormotherof2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2017 via mobile

Glenstone is nothing less than spectacular and is truly the first homegrown art collection in Washington DC that is on a par with those in New York or California. It's very much the 21st century equivalent of the Frick Museum in which an industrialist with discernment and the money to back it up has created a truly world class space. Please be advised, Glenstone is essentially transitioning from a private estate to a major museum that will be open in late 2018/2019. So, right now, there's a gallery that shows one artist or one show and about four or five large scale sculptures placed in an extensive manmade landscape. This place is not easy to get to, so make sure you understand that you're going for a very beautiful soupçon of contemporary art. It's not the Pompidou Center although it will get quite big when opened.

One of the nicest touches is that the staff is there to discuss works with you, provoke ideas and start a conversation. They are neither tour guide or guard. So, if you're curious about contemporary art but are not really sure what to make of it all the time, this is an excellent, non-judgmental place to learn and ask questions. The gallery staff are all wearing a type of gray pajama that somewhat looks like what farmers wear to plant rice in Southeast Asia except clearly designed by some Swiss German Uber hip designer.

When reading the TripAdvisor reviews, it's clear that a lot of people don't know what to expect right now and are disappointed when they get there. So, here's my guide to whether you should go or not.

My three main reasons to go:
-If you really know the current icons of contemporary art, you'll be in heaven.
-If you're curious about contemporary art but don't know it well and you have a car and gps to get there, this is a good place to learn.
-If you're a neighbor and have been wondering what's been going on there, it's definitely worth the snoop. Get your Gladys Kravitz on!

Here's who shouldn't go:
-if you're idea of contemporary art is going to MOMA for a Matisse or Cezanne show, this won't be pretty enough and accessible enough for you.
-If you have limited time in DC and no transportation, I would wait until 2019 to reconsider going.

So, if you've been to Marfa, Site Santa Fe, Art Basel, Dia Beacon or Lightning Field or know what I'm talking about, run here. Do not walk.
For those of you who think your kids could do contemporary paintings and want to see an Impressionist exhibition, please stay away for now and spare this place the bad TripAdvisor reviews.

Date of experience: August 2017
3  Thank Zzardvark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 9, 2017

We visited the museum today only to find one artist's work in the whole museum.
The show of Roni Horn could easily fit in one room of the museum and has a very limited appeal to me. I have seen similar pieces before and found the show repetitive and boring. I was unimpressed with the museum security, which does not allow the smallest bag into the museum and requires only group tours to walk the grounds. The museum is free, but I would have to be paid to go there again.

Date of experience: July 2017
5  Thank dl3033_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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