Each year since 1977, The International Council of Museums, a Paris-based non-governmental organization with ties to UNESCO and the United Nations, has organized International Museum Day, a special moment for the international museum community. This day is usually celebrated with unique events and exhibitions open to the public, which raise awareness about the fact that museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding. 2009 went down in history as a breakthrough year with more than 20,000 museums participating in over 90 countries. The event overall highlights a specific theme which changes every year to reflect the basis of the international museum community’s preoccupations. This year the main theme is Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion. Unfortunately, due to the covid-19 pandemic most museums around the world will have to remain closed, while others will have to limit the number of visitors they accept. Despite these obstacles many museums and cultural institutions have established an online presence, preparing special digital events for this year’s International Museum Day. We however, to celebrate, have prepared a list of recently opened museums that are worth checking out once this chaos is all over.
BAUHAUS MUSEUMS IN WEIMAR AND DESSAU
Weimar and Dessau, Germany
In 2019 Germany celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus Art School which operated from 1919 to 1933. To commemorate this symbolic moment Klassik Stiftung Weimar, one of the largest and most significant cultural institutions in Germany, initiated the opening of two new museums celebrating the Bauhaus tradition. One in Dessau, designed by Barcelona-based Addenda Architects, which displays the collection of photography and design, and one in Weimar, which houses the main collection.
New York, USA
After a four-month closure in 2019, MoMA reopened its doors with a brand-new west wing expansion which helped increase publicly accessible space by 25%. The $450 million project was headed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro group which has much experience with cultural design in the Big Apple. The new expanded lobby, multiplied spaces and reconfigured flow of traffic will make the act of viewing art more intimate, even as the gallery accommodates more people.
CHINA DUNE ART MUSEUM
Bohai Bay, China
Named the cultural building of the year in 2019 by Dezeen Magazine, this unique space located on a beach near Tianjin, China incorporates the natural surroundings in its design. Open Architecture group built deep and flat concrete structures which were later naturally covered by sand creating the illusion of a building coming of the dunes. The Dune Art Museum, as it is called, is part of the UCCA Center for Contemporary Arts. It was opened in December of 2019.
WEST BUND ART MUSEUM
With the growth of the art market in Asia that we have seen over the last couple of years new cultural hubs have been sprouting up all over the region. Located on the west bank of the Bund river in Shanghai is the newly built West Bund Art Museum which will work together with France’s Center Pompidou. Designed by English architect David Chipperfield the building is part of Shanghai’s West Bund masterplan that is transforming a former industrial site on the Huangpu River into a 940-hectare cultural district.
BOURSE DE COMMERCE – PINAULT COLLECTION
French billionaire François Pinault’s art collection has finally found a place to rest and be displayed. This anticipated Parisian museum is housed in the former stock exchange building near the Louvre in Paris’s first arrondissement on the right bank of the River Seine. The contemporary art venue, which will show works amassed over 40 years, has been restored by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who has also designed the collector’s two Venetian galleries, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana. Seven galleries will occupy the building, which features a circular walkway for viewing the 19th-century internal facade.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR
Called the gemstone of Qatari culture, the National Museum of Qatar was opened on March 28th 2019 after almost 10 years of construction. This giant structure composed of colliding white disks was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and was inspired by the desert rose that grows around the original twentieth century palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani which is part of the museum’s complex.
This gallery constructed from staggered aluminum panels which doubles as a bridge was designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. The structure, which was nicknamed The Twist, represents the winding and uneven topography of the Randselva River above which it sits. Visitors enter the gallery through the windowless south entrance and walk over the river to the spaces that are glazed from floor to ceiling.
ARANYA ART CENTER
This mysterious building is home to the Aranya Art Center, part of the Gold Coast seaside resort in China. Designed by Neri&Hu the building features a patterned concrete block exterior with a minimal number of windows. Drawing inspiration from the seasonal ocean waters nearby, the building seeks to encapsulate the natural wonder of water at its core: calm in summers, and splintered in winter.
New York, USA
The highlight of the New York cultural and art scene over the last couple of months is a structure named The Shed. It is an eight-story museum in New York’s Hudson Yards development. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the same group responsible for MoMA’s expansion, in collaboration with Rockwell Group. The museum’s translucent polymer-clad roof can be moved to shelter a space that almost doubles the building’s size. Since its opening it has housed concerts, art exhibitions and other forms of public display.
JISHOU ART MUSEUM
The last museum on our list also doubles as a bridge similar to The Twist in Norway. The Jishou Art Museum designed by Chinese architecture firm FCJZ focuses on encouraging people to engage with art on their daily commute to work. Initially, the municipal government had planned to build a new art museum in a development zone on the outskirts of the city, but Atelier FCJZ proposed situating it more centrally to make it more easily accessible. This concept of duality, incorporating cultural spaces into everyday architecture seems to be a up and coming trend that will most likely mark the design of futures initiatives.