Museums
Museums
Museums

The Year Ahead: museums opening in 2016

A look at the top institutions due to launch worldwide in the coming year

by Gareth Harris  |  1 January 2016
The Year Ahead: museums opening in 2016
The new Tate Modern, exterior view from the south. © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

New Tate Modern

London, UK

The long-awaited extension of Tate Modern is scheduled to open on 17 June. It will expand the institution’s display space by 60% (the Tate’s large-scale installations have more than doubled in number since 2000). The cost is now estimated at £260m, against an estimate of £215m in 2012. The largest funder is the UK government, which is providing £50m; the remainder has come mainly from private donors. In 2014/15, the gallery had 5.7 million visitors—more than six million are expected after the extension opens.

SFMOMA’s new Snøhetta-designed stair in the museum’s Haas, Jr. Atrium, shown here with a previous installation by Sol LeWitt; rendering: Steelblue
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco, US

In May, a ten-storey, 235,000 sq. ft extension to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, is due to be unveiled. More than 260 post-war and contemporary works from the collection of Donald and Doris Fisher, the founders of the Gap retail empire, will go on display in the revamped institution. The work of the late US artist Ellsworth Kelly will be displayed across a four-gallery “mini-museum” within the space. Officials say that the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography is “the largest gallery, research and interpretive space devoted to this medium in any US art museum”. The institution has raised $610m for the revamp, of which just over $300m was earmarked for construction. 

International Center of Photography

New York, US

Rendering of International Center of Photography's new 250 Bowery space. Credit: Skidmore; Owings & Merrill LLP
The International Center of Photography is due to open its new exhibition space on the Bowery, in downtown Manhattan, later this year (its previous base, in midtown Manhattan, closed in January 2015). The institution, which was founded by Cornell Capa in 1974, reportedly bought the 11,000 sq. ft Bowery space for $23.5m (a spokeswoman declined to comment). In 2014, the New York Times wrote that the centre was “widely regarded as one of the most innovative and experimental institutions for photography in the world” but that it had “struggled at times to attract visitors and financial support proportionate to its critical standing”.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Washington, DC, US

National Museum of African American History and Culture © Adjaye Associates
The new $540m National Museum of African American History and Culture, the only institution of its kind, is due to open in Washington, DC, this autumn. A spokeswoman says: “The museum is building a collection designed to illustrate the major periods of African-American history, beginning with the origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, reconstruction, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance and into the 21st century.” David Adjaye, the London-based museum architect who designed the 400,000 sq. ft building, told Al Jazeera: “I think that what the world will see is that the African-American story is not a footnote but probably the lens to really understand America, to this day.”

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

This vast arts complex, designed by the Norwegian architects Snøhetta and due to open later this year, is costing around $400m to build. It will include a library and archives, a performing arts space on the ground floor and a “Knowledge Tower”. The centre will host touring exhibitions and will house a museum that incorporates four main galleries. One gallery will be devoted to contemporary art from the Middle East, while another space will show exhibits that “explore past, present and future Saudi identity”, a spokesman says. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is lending 130 items from its Islamic art collection for the inaugural exhibition.

Palestinian Museum

Birzeit, Palestine

The Palestinian Museum rendering
The opening of a museum in Birzeit, north of Jerusalem, dedicated to the history and culture of Palestine over the past two centuries, was scheduled for May—but the museum’s founding director, Jack Persekian, resigned last month and an opening date has yet to be announced. A project of the Welfare Association, a Swiss-registered non-profit organisation, the museum was designed by Heneghan Peng at an estimated cost of around $30m. “Located within occupied territory, the museum’s virtual presence and worldwide network will, by necessity, be as important as its home base,” the organisers say.

Design Museum Kensington render Top Floor - Permanent Exhibition. Credit: Alex Morris Visualisation
Design Museum Kensington render Top Floor - Permanent Exhibition. Credit: Alex Morris Visualisation
Design Museum

London, UK

Officials at the Design Museum, which is currently based in a former banana warehouse in Shad Thames, south-east London, say that the institution’s new £80m home in Kensington, in the west of the capital, will open its doors in late 2016. Designed by the architect John Pawson, the new museum occupies the former Commonwealth Institute building. “Chelsfield Partners, developers of the whole site, have donated the building and land, together with a contribution towards the cost of refurbishing the shell and core of the building,” a spokeswoman for the museum says. Entry to the gallery showing the permanent collection will be free.

Maillol Museum - Bouchardon Fontain © Musée Maillol
Maillol Museum - Bouchardon Fontain © Musée Maillol
Musée Maillol

Paris, France

The Musée Maillol in Paris closed in February last year, after Tecniarte, its managing company, was declared bankrupt. It is due to reopen in September. The museum has hired Culturespaces, a company that manages 13 other historical sites and museums in France, to operate its new exhibition programme of two shows a year. “We’re going back to basics with contemporary and Modern art exhibitions,” says Olivier Lorquin, the president of the museum. The institution’s courtyard and permanent collection spaces have been refurbished.

Sylvie Fleury,  Eternity Now, 2015, Courtesy of Bass Museum of Art.  Photo: Silvia Ros
Sylvie Fleury,  Eternity Now, 2015, Courtesy of Bass Museum of Art.  Photo: Silvia Ros
Bass Museum of Art

Miami Beach, US

The Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, who designed the Bass Museum of Art’s 2002 extension, was asked in 2013 to “revisit the museum’s design to explore the possibility of gaining more programming space without adding any additional square footage to the building”, says a statement from the Miami Beach-based institution. The new $7.5m internal expansion, due to be unveiled in the autumn, increases the space available for exhibitions and education programmes by 47%. “Now, museums are asked to be places of entertainment, to have coffee and educational programmes, to be much more interactive,” Silvia Karman Cubiñá, the museum’s executive director and chief curator, told local press.

The Whitney Museum of American Art's former (1966-2014) home on Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer. Photo by Gryffindor
The Whitney Museum of American Art's former (1966-2014) home on Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer. Photo by Gryffindor
Met Breuer

New York, US

The long-awaited Met Breuer building in New York, the new home for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Modern and contemporary department, is due to be unveiled on 18 March. The Met has an eight-year lease on the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, on Madison Avenue, and the New York Times reported that it will take over the cost of running the building, which is estimated to be around $3m a year. As part of the inauguration, Sheena Wagstaff, the chairwoman of the museum’s Modern and contemporary art department, is organising the largest show to date of work by the Indian Modernist artist Nasreen Mohamedi.

Also coming soon…

•  The new, 35,000 sq. ft home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the visual arts centre of the University of California, Berkeley, opens this month. Built at a cost of $112m, it was designed by the New York-based architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

•  The Heong Gallery, designed by the London-based architects Caruso St John and funded by the Chinese entrepreneur Alwyn Heong, is due to open in Downing College, at the University of Cambridge, UK, in February.
n  In March, works from the Portland Collection will be displayed in the new 800 sq. m Harley Gallery building in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, which cost around £5m and is backed by the Harley Foundation charitable trust.

•  A government-funded outpost of Taipei’s National Palace Museum, which has a collection of more than 600,000 Chinese artefacts, is due to open later this year in Chiayi County, south Taiwan. It is expected to cost NT$7.9 billion ($250m).

•  This summer, the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is due to open ten new galleries, dedicated to science and technology, decorative art, design and fashion, after a £14.1m redevelopment.

•  A major new wing is due to open at the Kunstmuseum in Basel this spring, adding 2,750 sq. m of gallery space to house art dating from 1960 to 1990. The SFr100m ($100m) bill is split between the canton of Basel and the Laurenz Foundation. 

•  The Argentinian real-estate magnate Alan Faena has commissioned Rem Koolhaas and OMA to build the $150m, 42,550 sq. ft Faena Forum in Miami Beach. It is scheduled to open in the autumn.

•  There have been numerous delays to the project, so watch this space, but it seems that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is now scheduled to open in December, at a reported cost of $650m, on the £18bn Saadiyat Island complex, which also houses the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

• In our guide to museums opening in 2016 (The Art Newspaper, January, The Year Ahead 2016, pIII), we printed a photograph showing the original staircase in the atrium of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This has now been demolished and replaced by a staircase designed by the firm Snøhetta as part of the museum’s extension, which opens in May.

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