The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is located at 3716 Washington Boulevard (between Grand Boulevard and Spring Avenue) in St. Louis, Missouri. Having opened in 2001, it is housed inside a building designed by internationally renowned Japanese architect, Tadao Ando.
History of The Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Emily Rauh Pulitzer established the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in 2001. Emily and her husband, had originally sought to create a space in which to house works from their private collection. The Pulitzers reached out to Tadao Ando in the early 1990s to commission him to renovate an abandoned automobile factory in the Grand Center entertainment district of St. Louis. During the design phase, Joseph Jr. died, and the project was not completed. In 1993, Emily Rauh Pulitzer eventually came back to the idea for a foundation and approached Ando about construction. This would become his first freestanding public building in the United States.
The inaugural exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation opened in October 2001, and featured a selection of works from the Pulitzers’ private collections, which included artwork by Roy Lichtenstein, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol.
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation has hosted a variety of exhibitions including groups shows of minimalist art, Buddhist art, Old Masters, and contemporary themes, as well as solo exhibitions of Dan Flavin, Ann Hamilton, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Serra, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and others.
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation building is known for its attention to natural elements such as light and water, as well as a unique use of concrete, which was poured in place during a nearly four-year construction period that utilized advanced techniques and processes uncommon in America at the time.
In June 2014, an expansion of the building began, that would renovate storage and office spaces in the existing lower level to create two new public galleries. In tandem with Ando and his office, the Pulitzer increased the public space in the building from 6,800 square feet to roughly 10,400 square feet. The Pulitzer reopened on May 1, 2015, with three stellar solo exhibitions of artists Alexander Calder, Fred Sandback, and Richard Tuttle.
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is a non-collecting institution that has only three works of art permanently on display. Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Black is a vertical wall sculpture installed below a skylight in the building’s main gallery. Richard Serra’s Joe is the first in the series of torqued spirals of weathering steel, and is installed in the courtyard to the west of the building. The works by Kelly and Serra were commissioned for the Pulitzer by Emily Rauh Pulitzer and were installed before the building opened.
The Pulitzer engages in a variety of public programs that correspond to the current exhibition. These events include symposia, panel discussions, architectural tours, performances, poetry readings, and a variety of student initiatives and events. The Pulitzer also works with an ongoing collaborative chamber concert series of contemporary music with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Concert programs are chosen based on their relationship to the artworks exhibited.