Free admission and a birthday cake contest! What better way to launch an anniversary celebration? The Phillips Collection starts the countdown to its centennial with a free weekend on January 15 and 16 that will include sweet designs by celebrity bakers, the winner determined by votes from museum goers. Special installations and programs throughout the year debut stunning new acquisitions in contemporary art, engage artists in conversation with the collection, and tell the story of artistic innovation at the heart of the museum since Duncan Phillips opened its doors in 1921. An anniversary birthday bash is planned for November 5.
The January 15-16 free weekend heralds the joyful reopening of the original Phillips house, closed for repair after a fire in early September. The Phillips welcomes visitors back to its intimate galleries where a spectacular new installation of masterworks from the permanent collection is on view, along with a special installation of Sir Howard Hodgkin’s most ambitious work to date, As Time Goes By (2009). Comprising starbursts of vibrant color, the two 20-foot-long, hand-painted etchings were recently acquired for the Phillips’s permanent collection. Turner Prize winner Hodgkin had his first American exhibition at the Phillips in 1984.
Work-of-art birthday cake designs by pastry chefs Rebekka Baltzell (Restaurant Eve), Kevin Boxx (Domaso Trattoria), Peter Brett (Blue Duck Tavern), Warren Brown (Cake Love), Chris Kujala (RIS), Marilyn Mueller (Susan Gage Catering), Travis Olson (1789), Melanie Parker (701), and Tom Wellings (Equinox) inspired by artworks in the Phillips will be on display for one weekend only. Visitors vote for their favorite by donating $1 in support of Phillips education programs. The celebration continues in the museum’s café by FoodArts, where visitors 21 and over will enjoy complimentary champagne while supplies last.
Free tours throughout the weekend provide insight into art on view. Fast-paced “relay tours” spotlight 90 works of art in back-to-back talks, ten minutes each—visitors can take in one or all, depending on their art appreciation stamina. For guests seeking a self-guided experience, the Phillips debuts a “things to do in 90 minutes” brochure. In the 90th Anniversary Reading Room, photographs, letters, and other archival materials will show how museum founder Duncan Phillips shaped, in his own words, “an intimate museum combined with an experiment station.” Visitors can also enjoy art-related films and the exhibition Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Phillips on its final weekend.
The Phillips Collection is located in the heart of Washington’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, at 1600 21st Street, NW, near the Dupont Circle Metro (Q Street exit). Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays until 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.