The financially precarious Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has retained an outside consultant group to determine how the institution can continue to survive, and whether its operation should remain linked to that of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The gallery and college also plan to lease their adjacent parking lot to a local developer, who will erect an eight-story office building on the site, which was once slated for a Frank Gehry-designed expansion to the Corcoran. In a recent telephone interview, the Corcoran’s director and president, Fred Bollerer, said that the deal – which requires permits from city agencies to proceed — will reap around $1 million per year in rent, but will not provide more space for the institution.

While Bollerer declined to identify the developer until a deal is signed, he said that the Corcoran has hired Toronto-based consultants Lord Cultural Resources to develop ideas for the institution’s future. The college has been growing, but the museum operation is “unsustainable,” he says, adding that while there is no plan to divest the collection it is not clear what form the museum will take in the future.


Jason Edward Kaufman