Arts Desk

Ratner Museum Plans “Format Change” for First Floor

The Ratner Museum in Bethesda, Md., is in the process of canceling all of its fall shows to make way for a "format change" on the museum's first floor. About 150 artists who show their work on that floor will be affected.

Museum co-founder Phillip Ratner says "We're changing the format of the museum in a very dramatic and wonderful way." He declined to offer specifics, only saying that the museum is collaborating with an outside organization to overhaul the way art is displayed on the museum's main floor, which houses rotating exhibits of works from local artists, among others. "We want it to be a surprise," he says. The museum's second floor will not be altered. Ratner expects to formally announce the change in August.

"For many, many years, we have hosted these shows with our pleasure, and never taken a penny for it," Ratner says. "When we announce [the format change], you'll say, 'Oh, you guys are wonderful.'"

Image via the Ratner Museum's website

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  • Stephen

    The article is not entirely accurate. I had been selected to participate in a show in January 2014, and was informed that the show had been cancelled. The implication was that the entire program of showing emerging artists had been eliminated.
    Moreover, it needs to be pointed out that while the museum did provide the space and administration for the shows, it was the artists who paid the costs of publicizing, paying for the reception and so forth. From the perspective of an artist, having a show at the Ratner was more expensive than, say, participating in a juried exhibition at a commercial gallery.

  • Ally Schweitzer

    Hi Stephen,

    I don't think what you're saying conflicts with what I reported. When I spoke to Phillip Ratner in early April, he said that the museum was in the process of informing artists that their fall 2013 shows had been canceled. It's possible that artists booked for after the fall are also being affected, as you say you have been. But at the time, the museum said they'd only just begun with the fall artists. As for the specifics of the first floor programming, Ratner declined to specify.