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Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

Welcome to the East Building


The East Building houses the Gallery’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art. A just-completed renovation adds 12,250 square feet of new exhibition space within the existing footprint of the building, including two soaring tower galleries and a rooftop terrace for outdoor sculpture that overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue. The number of works on view from the collection has increased from 350 to 500.

In the galleries, a reimagined installation of the collection integrates new acquisitions from the Corcoran Collection and recent gifts from the Collectors Committee, Virginia Dwan, Agnes Gund, the Hakuta Family, the Al Held Foundation, the Patrons’ Permanent Fund, Arnold and Joan Saltzman, Victoria and Roger Sant, Deborah and Ed Shein, as well as artists Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, David Novros, Kenneth Snelson, and others. The inclusion of photography, works on paper, and media arts in addition to painting and sculpture tells a more expansive story of modern art. Chronological, stylistic, and thematic arrangements provide new and thought-provoking juxtapositions. Also new are two staircases and an elevator that permit easier access to all levels of the building.

Planning for the East Building began in 1968 — on a site set aside by founder Andrew W. Mellon in the 1930s for the Gallery’s future expansion. The cultural significance of modern art was on the rise, and the Gallery had begun to acquire works by living artists. Today, modern and contemporary art offers a unique conduit for reflection on shifts in art and society and on our place in the world. The experience is made richer by proximity to a historical collection dating back to the twelfth century that is displayed in the West Building. The year 2016 also marks the 75th anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. We are pleased to celebrate the renovation and reinstallation of the East Building and to invite you to make your own connections to the works on view.

Upcoming Events

Evenings at the Edge

From October 13–April 13, 2017 enjoy special programs, drinks, and entertainment on the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

J. Carter Brown Memorial Evening with Educators: Rediscover the East Building

On November 2, from 4:30–7:30, educators can explore I. M Pei’s newly renovated and reinstalled East Building. The evening opens with a lecture by Harry Cooper, curator of modern art, who will explain the ideas behind the reinstallation. 

Community Celebration:
Celebrating the Reopening of the East Building

The weekend of November 5–6, join a sketching group or attend music, dance, and theater performances in the reopened East Building. Events are all ages, and free and open to the public. No registration required.

Interact with the Collection

Gallery Talks and Tours
See the calendar for the current schedule of daily gallery talks and tours. Program times, audiences, and topics are available at the Information Desks.

Audio Guide

Connect to the Gallery's free Wi-Fi and listen to the East Building audio tour on your mobile device during your visit. The tour is also available on all Gallery Acoustiguide devices, which may be borrowed free of charge at the Information Desk. Printed instructions for borrowing and using the devices are available.

The Collection

Search for a specific object by title, artist, keyword, provenance, or exhibition history in our Collection Search.

See the works that are on view now in the Gallery.