Posts tagged with "Museums":

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OPEN Architecture transforms an abandoned Shanghai industrial site into a contemporary art park

Along with a vast number of cultural institutions around the globe, Tank Shanghai, a sprawling urban art environment situated along the Huangpu River in China’s most populous city, has been closed to the public and upped its virtual presence in the midst of the country’s coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Just a little over a year old, this singular adaptive reuse-centered art space centered around—and located within—a quintet of massive decommissioned fuel waste tanks is back open now, and apparently ready to show off. A newly released series of photos details the transformative project, which was designed by multi-disciplinary design studio OPEN Architecture and spearheaded by karaoke-loving contemporary art collector Qiao Zhibing. Completed over the course of six years (with some significant delay), Tank Shanghai wholly transformed a formerly industrial plot adjacent to Shanghai’s old Longhua Airport while retaining five hulking tank structures that were left standing at the once-blighted 12-acre riverside site in the museum-stuffed West Bund area. Per OPEN, Tank Shanghai is one of the “world’s rare examples of the adaptive reuse of aviation fuel tanks.” Described as a “sanctuary for both people and nature” that aims to “dissolve conventional ideas of site limitations and demarcations,” Tank Shanghai’s open space-meets-contemporary-art-center approach has already proven to be popular with the public. Showing now is Chicago-based installation artist Theaster Gates’ Bad Neon, which transforms one of the tank-bound gallery spaces into a roller skating rink. For most, the art is indeed a main draw but Tank Shanghai’s park setting also attracts joggers, picnickers, and the like. “By introducing new audiences to the traditionally closed-off space of the art center, Tank Shanghai has brought unprecedented energy to the formerly industrial neighborhood and to the southwest banks of the city at large,” explained OPEN. The five tanks are connected by a lushly landscaped “Super Surface” which serves as a natural pedestrian corridor between the different major sections of the park, including an “Urban Forest, a grassy open meadow for large gatherings, and a “stepped waterscape.” By linking the site with busy Longten Avenue, the Super Surface also opens up public access to the revitalized riverfront. As for the tanks themselves, each has been retrofitted to serve a unique purpose and accommodate different programming. The first is home to a two-story nightclub featuring live music and bar; the second is a restaurant complete with an outdoor roof deck; the third is a cavernous, raw space left mostly unchanged in order to mount large installations; the fourth has been converted into a more traditional gallery space spread across three levels, each connected by a spiraling ramp, and the fifth has been converted to include two large, sheltered stages that each face sloping lawns for visitors to congregate for al fresco concerts, performances, and such. “It is an art center without boundaries, and as it continues to assimilate into the life of the city more largely,” wrote New York-founded OPEN. “Tank Shanghai will continue to facilitate and inspire the creation of more inclusive and collective cultural spaces.”
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Thieves snatch Van Gogh painting from Dutch museum shuttered during COVID-19 outbreak

A global pandemic, a scenario in which people are ordered to stay home and businesses and institutions are forced to temporarily close, presents itself as an opportunity for bad people to do bad things. And this very much includes the pilfering of invaluable art and artifacts at a time when millions upon millions of people are on lockdown. Singer Laren, a Dutch art museum and concert hall located in the affluent small town of Laren just outside of Amsterdam in North Holland, experienced this phenomenon firsthand when a thief or thieves pulled off a smash-and-grab job in the dead of the night, making off with a painting by Vincent van Gogh—and, even more shamelessly, on the post-impressionist’s 167th birthday. Like many other museums and cultural institutions, Singer Laren is temporarily closed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Shuttered since March 12, the museum has tentative plans to reopen to guests on June 1. As noted by the Washington Post, the brazen burglary at Singer Laren has likely garnered the uneasy attention of museum directors elsewhere as “the lack of crowds and security potentially compromised by staffing issues during the virus outbreak may present an invitation to opportunistic thieves.” The stolen painting, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884), was not part of the permanent collection at Singer Laren, a museum established in the late 1950s by the window of Pittsburgh-born steel fortune heir-turned-artist William Henry Singer to house the couple’s vast art collection. Rather, the 1884 oil painting, completed by Van Gogh relatively early in his career while living with his parents outside of Eindhoven, was on loan from the larger Groninger Museum as part of an expansive exhibition of 19th-century Dutch paintings and watercolors at Singer Laren titled Mirror of the Soul. Housed in buildings designed by Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini, and Coop Himmelb(l)au, the Groninger Museum is located in the city of Groningen in the far north of the Netherlands. In a statement, the museum said it was “shocked by the news“ and added that the work is the only Van Gogh painting in its own collection. The 10-by-22-inch Van Gogh painting has been valueed at up to $6.6 million as reported by The Guardian. In a press conference, Singer Laren director Jan Rudolph de Lorm described himself as being “unbelievably pissed off” by the overnight art heist. “We are deeply shocked, angry and saddened,” reads a full statement by de Lorm, published on the museum website. “A magnificent and poignant painting by one of our greatest artists has been taken from the community. It is terrible for the Groninger Museum and for Singer Laren, but above all for every one of us. Art exists to be shared, to enjoy, to inspire and offer comfort, particularly in times such as these. Art is vital to our culture.” The thief/thieves gained entry to the museum at 3:15 a.m. on March 30 by smashing in the glass front doors. This immediately triggered a security alarm but the culprits—and the painting—had vanished into the night by the time police arrived on the scene. The statement released by Singer Laren goes on to note that the museum has launched a full investigation “involving experts from several fields, including forensic investigators, detectives and members of the national crime squad specialised in art theft.” As the Associated Press noted, this is not the first time that art has been purloined from Singer Laren. In 2007, thieves made off with several sculptures from the museum’s garden including a bronze cast of Rodin’s The Thinker. That sculpture was ultimately recovered albeit missing a leg.
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Museums and other vital cultural institutions feel the coronavirus squeeze

Esteemed museums and cultural institutions across Asia including Shanghai’s Power Station of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and South Korea’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art are in the process of gradually reopening their doors following an aggressive lockdown period meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The reopening of museums in particularly hard-hit countries is a sign that there’s a light at the end of an unknowingly long, dark tunnel. In the United States, however, it’s not yet clear when some of the country’s most beloved and highly trafficked museums will reopen, if at all. Some have optimistically posted reopening dates but these, of course, are tentative as not even leading health experts are certain what the coming days and weeks will bring. Already, some museums are indicating that when they do eventually reopen, operations might be permanently impacted. It’s not yet clear how this might take shape, although limited operating hours, altered admission charges, reduced programming, and hiring freezes are all likely for institutions big and small. And if the SOS signals being sent out by New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a formidable institution with seemingly vast financial resources, are any indication, America’s cultural landscape will forever be altered in the post-coronavirus era. “This is an extraordinarily challenging time for us all,” wrote Daniel H. Weiss, president and chief executive of the Met, and Max Hollein, the museum’s director in a letter recent letter. “As staff members of The Met we all have a profound responsibility to protect and preserve the treasured institution we inherited.” As recently reported by The Art Newspaper, the Met, which will remain shuttered until at least July 1, is anticipating a $100 million shortfall as a direct result of the pandemic. In 2018-2019, the Met, facing a mounting deficit problem, enjoyed a healthy surge of revenue from a new ticketing scheme that abandoned an across-the-board “pay what you wish” donation model in favor of charging non-New Yorkers $25 a head for admission. While controversial, the Met experienced record attendance during the 2018 fiscal year with the new admissions policy in place, bringing in $8 to $11 million in additional revenue. The museum’s fiscal budget for 2018 was $320 million with 16 percent, or $48 million, coming from ticket sales. The following fiscal year was even stronger with upped admissions ($55 million in revenue), a dramatic bump in endowment support, and increased retail sales. Even if it lasts just a few months, the coronavirus shutdown could undo more than two years of financial progress made by the immensely well-funded Met. And this, as the New York Times, points out, is a troubling sign for other cultural institutions in New York and beyond:
The Met is an important canary in the coal mine for arts institutions all over the country; when the museum announced on March 12 that it was closing, others followed close behind. If even a behemoth like the Met—with an operating budget of $320 million and an endowment of $3.6 billion—is anticipating such a steep financial hit, smaller institutions may not be able to survive at all.
It’s worth noting that the Met doesn't plan to dip into its sizable endowment­—which has since shrunk as the stock market declines—as a resource and that a hefty portion of the loss incurred during and after the closure won’t come from ticket sales but from the normally deep wallets of wealthy donors becoming a bit more constrained. The Met has not yet parted ways with any employees but furloughs, layoffs, and voluntarily retirements will be evaluated at the beginning of April. And provided it reopens as planned in July, it will do so “with a reduced program and lower cost structure that anticipates lower attendance for at least the next year due to reduced global and domestic tourism and spending,” reads the letter from Weiss and Hollein. Laura Lott, president and chief executive of the nonprofit American Alliance of Museums, relayed to the Times that museums and other cultural institutions that aren’t the Met may never reopen at all. She noted that three-quarters of museums in the U.S. are now temporarily shuttered and that one-third of them will never reopen once the pandemic eventually passes. “This situation is by far more dire than anything I have experienced in my 25 years of being an arts finance professional,” said Lott. A recent national survey released by Americans for the Arts estimated financial losses in the nonprofit arts sector to be roughly $3.2 billion in total to date, a sum that includes both income from admissions and non-admissions revenue sources like gift shop sales, sponsorships, and the like. As COVID-19 bears down on the U.S., Americans for the Arts and other organizations have lobbied Congress for much-needed help in the form of $4 billion in aid that would be part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package meant to jump-start the flailing American economy and help families and workers. As of now, that package includes $25 million earmarked for the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and $75 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, a vital federal program already made vulnerable by the Trump administration.
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Henning Larsen unveils seaside museum in Norway’s northernmost reaches

Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen, experts in sustainable and site-specific modern Scandinavian architecture, has released plans for a luminous waterfront museum in Tromsø, Norway. Among the top design considerations Henning Larsen faced when conceiving the Arctic Museum of Norway in the surprisingly mild city of Tromsø—the third largest city located north of the Arctic Circle—were: Seamlessly integrating the structure into the rugged surrounding landscape, respecting and reflecting the rich local cultural heritage, and artfully displaying the skeleton of a very large blue whale. Suspended from the ceiling of the site's largest exhibition hall, said whale skeleton will be the main, impossible-to-miss archaeological attraction at the Arctic Museum of Norway. The breadth of the museum’s collection, however, will be quite extensive, as it combines Tromsø University’s cultural artifacts and natural history archives. Both of these collections are currently held separately in different buildings and have outgrown them. The museum is expected to be one of the largest cultural institutions north of the Arctic Circle when it opens. (Construction is expected to commence in 2023.) As a press release explains, the new museum, located a short walk  from the city center down a sloping hill, will “be an anchorpoint in a new cultural path in Tromsø.” This “cultural path” will dead-end at the harbor-hugging museum in an attempt to reactivate Tromsø’s scenic but largely overlooked waterfront. “Despite being such a visible presence in the city, Tromsø’s waterfront is largely absent from the public realm,” said Henning Larsen partner Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen in a statement. “The museum, with its focus on the natural and cultural history of Norway’s northernmost areas including the Arctic, and its cascading site, makes a first move back down to its shores to celebrate the region's history.” Similar to other Henning Larsen projects, the Arctic Museum of Norway will be hyper site-sensitive. Wedged into a rolling hillside just above the shoreline, the museum will be composed of a quartet of freestanding but snugly situated slate-base buildings, each topped with “translucent masses whose facades are composed of cassette-like modules that can be individually maintained and replaced.” “Opaque and milky in the daylight, they transform into a cluster of glowing beacons on the waterfront at night,” wrote Henning Larsen. “These delicate, glowing masses atop the slate base reference the indigenous Saami’s lávvu homes, whose canvas walls radiate light on the frozen winter earth.” According to the firm, the “landscape is not just part of the site but part of the exhibitions” and doubles as a highly publicly accessible gathering spot, where various features, including a tiered seating area directly adjacent to a small beach and promenade, invite locals and visitors alike to relax and socialize. “The landscape will be open to visitors and maintained throughout the year, offering a calendric view of the area’s natural heritage. Connection to the landscape, both in geography and in flora, is at the backbone of the design, with outdoor paths doubling as botanical passages and courtyards serving as pocket parks. The parkland around the site offers space for experimentation, study, and discovery and acts as public demonstration for the expertise housed within the museum itself.” Henning Larsen has designed numerous cultural institutions and museums across Scandinavia including the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark. This, however, is the firm’s first project of any kind in Tromsø.
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House passes bill to build women’s history museum on National Mall

A Smithsonian museum dedicated to women’s history in the United States is closer to becoming a reality. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill last week that would allow the build-out of a national women’s history museum on or near the National Mall in Washington, D.C According to HR1980, two potential sites are up for consideration: One by the Senate and Capitol buildings, and one closer to the Washington Monument and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The bill’s sponsors, Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Brian Fitzpatrick, Brenda Lawrence, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, won support for the project across both sides of the aisle in the House, gaining approval in a 374-37 vote.  “For too long, women’s history has been left out of the telling of our nation's history,” the sponsors wrote in a statement. “Today, the House of Representatives took an important first step to change that. Women are part of every American moment, and their contributions should be recognized and celebrated.”  Maloney, a Democrat from New York’s 12th district who now heads up the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has spent over two decades trying to get a bill in motion for such a museum. In 2014, she helped formulate legislation that allowed the creation of a congressional commission to study the idea of a museum about women’s history. She later introduced a similar bill to HR1980 that ultimately did not make it to the House floor in 2017. The last Smithsonian museum to be inaugurated on the National Mall was the Adjaye Associates-designed NMAAHC in 2016. If the timeline of that project is any indication, a women’s history museum might not break ground for several years once a companion bill is passed in the Senate. The NMAAHC took four years to build; eight years to begin construction after legislation was passed in Congress, and over 20 years after the proposal was first introduced on the House floor.  It’s unclear just how long the journey from bill to building will be, but what is clear is that there will reportedly be a larger push than ever this year for the museum due to the upcoming presidential election and this summer’s centennial celebration of women’s suffrage in the United States. Many believe a project like this is long overdue. According to CBS, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) was the only woman in the House that voted against the bill last week, saying she “believes women’s accomplishments deserve to be honored in an equal manner, alongside those of men.” Other critics have cited concerns over whether the museum would be truly inclusive and whether or not it would show both sides of women’s issues such as abortion rights, though a section of HR1980 clearly states that curators will take steps to ensure “diversity of political viewpoints in exhibits and programs.” Senators Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein are sponsoring a similar bill, which will soon come online in the Senate. If also passed, the next question over the museum’s future will revolve around funding. As part of the Smithsonian Institution, the project would be paid for via a combination of federal funds and private donations, as well as grants from philanthropic foundations.
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Mr. Brainwash will convert a Richard Meier-designed building into a Beverly Hills art museum

Only three months after the announcement the Paley Center for Media would be departing the Richard Meier-designed home in Beverly Hills it has occupied since 1996, a new tenant has already been confirmed. Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash), a French street artist who gained notoriety following the release of the 2010 mockumentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, has signed a lease to temporarily transform the 26,500-square-foot space into a museum of his own after scoping out an exhibition space for over a year. “The building, which almost fell into my lap, is my Cinderella slipper," Guetta told the Art Newspaper. "It fits perfectly." Since moving to Los Angeles, Guetta has already taken over several properties throughout the city to produce and store his artwork. The latest lease, however, reflects an initiative to exhibit that work to a public audience. The artist has also stated that the building will also be used for presenting group shows, some of which may be themed with loans from local institutions in conjunction with pieces from his own collection. The building’s facilities lend themselves to other museum functions as well, including a 150-seat theater for which the artist is planning public and private talks and screenings. “I want to show different sides of myself," he added. "All I have kept inside for so many years. Imagine a pressure cooker, about to explode. That’s me!” The former Museum of Television & Radio was originally purchased in 2018 for $80 million by the luxury brand LVMH, which plans to eventually demolish the three-story structure and build a hotel on the site. Guetta will receive the keys in March, and is planning to present his first exhibition in the space this Spring. Pairing the glassy building’s location on a heavily trafficked corner with the artist’s notoriety and connection to Banksy, one can expect that the exhibition space will receive a lot of attention during its run.
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Detroit’s Motown Museum teases expansion in new flyover video

Detroit’s Motown Museum has reached out by releasing a flyover video that gives the first good look at its $50 million expansion in hopes that we’ll (eventually) be there. And although there ain’t nothing like the real thing, the teaser video showcases the under-construction museum in its full glory. “It’s such a thrill for us to give the world this fresh visual of what our expanded campus will look like when construction is completed,” Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum, told Detroit News. “The dynamic format for this aerial ‘flyover’ video means you can experience the project in a way that even the most detailed plans and renderings cannot—bringing the expansion to life in a way that makes you feel like you’re there. This preview also illustrates how the museum will offer unique programming, a collaborative space for the community to gather and one-of-a-kind experiences that no other institution can match.” As previously reported, the museum expansion, which broke ground in September of last year, was designed by the late Phil Freelon of Perkins and Will. Most notably, the North Carolina-based Freelon led the design team behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as other museums dedicated to civil rights and the black experience. For the Motown Museum expansion, Freelon collaborated with Detroit’s Hamilton Anderson Associates. “Motown introduced a brilliant collection of voices and stories across racial, generational, and cultural lines,” said Zena Howard, a managing director at Perkins and Will, in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “The expansion of the Motown Museum will carry these voices even further.” When complete, the museum, which is currently located in the original Motown home offices/studios on West Grand Boulevard, will feature an additional 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibition space, performance venues, recording studios, community gathering areas, retail space, and more. The first phase will mostly involve renovating and connecting the existing museum buildings, and is the first of four. The sprawling new museum complex will be connected to Hitsville U.S.A., the name of Motown Records’ historic hit-producing compound. In effect, the expansion will create a sprawling cultural campus in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood. Currently, three of the seven original Motown-affiliated residential homes lining West Grand Boulevard make up the present-day museum. Motown mogul Berry Gordy purchased the first Hitsville home in 1959. In 1972, Gordy moved the label’s headquarters from Detroit to Los Angeles. Esther Gordy Edwards, sister of Berry Gordon and former senior vice president of Motown Records, established the Motown Museum at the Hitsville site in 1985. It remains one of southeast Michigan’s top tourist attractions. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, the Motown Museum announced it had surpassed the halfway mark of its $50 million expansion fundraising campaign on the same day it premiered the new flyover teaser.
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MVRDV's Depot houses a national archive behind mirror glass

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The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (MBVB), located in Rotterdam's 10-acre Museumpark, is receiving a striking new addition designed by MVRDV. The Depot will house up to 125,000 of the museum's artworks not currently used for exhibitions, with over 70,000 of the pieces being made accessible to the public in a semi-curated format. In response to the site and the functional requirements of the project, Depot's spherical concrete shell has been clad with over 1,500 curved mirrored glass panels. For MVRDV, the location of the seven-story archive drove the decision to use mirror glass for the facade. "The project is situated in a piece of parkland between many cultural and medical institutions, so we did not want to turn our back to any of the neighbors, we wanted to visually enlarge the park," said MVRDV associate architect Arjen Ketting. "A piece of the park has been sacrificed to make space for this building, we visually reintroduce the setting in the facade." This effect is maximized by The Depot's circular massing which allows passing pedestrian to see around the corner of the structure towards the park's greater landscape.
  • Facade Manufacturer ShenZhen ShenNanYi Glass ODS Walasco Kingspan
  • Architect MVRDV
  • Facade Installer Sorba
  • Facade Consultant ABT
  • Location Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Date of Completion 2021
  • System Custom system of brackets
  • Products ShenZhen ShenNanYi Glass Mirror Glass
Depot broke ground in 2017 and rises from an approximately 22,000-square-foot concrete foundation that supports a seven-story, poured concrete sphere that cantilevers over 30 feet in every direction. At its thickest, the sphere is one-and-a-half-feet in section—a built-in anti-burglary measure—and is punctured by just a handful of window openings to prevent sunlight from reaching the interior. Brackets were anchored into the structure during the concrete pour, and are further supplemented by a secondary network of small black frames; Rotterdam's municipal code requires secondary safety measures for facade cladding. Installation of the mirrored panels began in April 2019 and are arranged into 26 horizontal layers consisting of 64 identical panels, with each layer conforming to the curvature of the concrete shell. Prior to fabrication, the design team digitally unfolded the sphere's surface into a two-dimensional format inlaid with the cutting pattern, which was in turn exported to the manufacturer. Each panel consists of two layers of glass separated by multiple layers of reflective foils, which were curved together during the fabrication process. A layer of insulation produced by Kingspan backs the panels and facade installer Sorba incised the membrane using a 3D model of the supporting brackets to reduce thermal bridging. Although the bulk of the mirrored panels are subject to the same treatment, there are certain segments that correspond to nearby structures. For example, a significant block of the eastern elevation is composed of a less reflective coating to guard the privacy of patients found at the adjacent Erasmus Medical Center. Additionally, mirrored glass panels abutting windows are treated to transition to those transparent moments. The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2020 and will open in 2021.
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A new museum in Paris celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Liberation

The story of the resistants in the 1944 liberation of Paris from Nazi control is being told at a new museum opening on August 25. The Musée de la Libération celebrates two towering figures of the Resistance: Jean Moulin and Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque—two men who never met but who both sparked local and international support for the city during the occupation.  Originally, a selection of the artifacts now on view in the museum’s permanent collection was on display in a haphazard and little-known exhibition hall in the Montparnasse district. However, with efforts directed by Parisian mayor Anne Hidalgo, a more cohesive curatorial effort is now housed in a grand 18th-century mansion that was ground zero for the final days of the Resistance movement. Originally owned by Henri Rol-Tanguy, who outfitted the basement for use by Moulin, the house and its subterranean bunker have undergone a $22 million refurbishment over the past four years. It's been filled with the photographs, personal items, and letters of the resistants and its celebrated leaders, as well as from the general Parisian public.  The bunker was integral to the final days of the Resistance since its useful amenities were located 99 steps below ground. These included a pair of airtight steel doors that could be used in the event of a gas attack, a 250-line telephone exchange that could connect leaders to the police (bypassing Nazi-run lines), and a bicycle-powered electricity generator that could keep ventilation moving despite being so far underground.  All of these elements have been meticulously restored and revealed to the public in the new museum. Hanna Diamond, an expert on World War II from Cardiff University, told The Guardian that the aim of the museum's display was to be "as engaging and as accessible as possible." "There’s a real republican responsibility here,” she said. The materials collected by the museum include everything from a schoolboy’s wallet filled with ration cards to the walking stick that Leclerc was never without. The narrative told is centered around the heroic events of August 25, 1944, so it's also fitting that the museum will open its doors on the Liberation’s 75th anniversary.  “The museum’s potency is greatly enhanced by the fact that 'it all actually happened here,'" Diamond said. The Musée de la Libération sits directly across from the entrance to Paris’ famous catacombs and is poised to welcome up to 14,000 visitors per year, according to Le Monde. It will serve as a lasting monument to the stories of the resistants and their chapter of French history for years to come. 
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Some survivors and activists oppose Orlando's Pulse memorial and museum

While efforts to build the National Pulse Memorial and Museum at the site of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, are moving forward, certain LGBTQ activists, survivors, and loved ones of victims are voicing opposition to the plan. Last month, organizers who are against the onePULSE Foundation’s initiative to establish the museum formed the Community Coalition Against a Pulse Museum (CCAPM), which aims to develop an alternative vision for how to remember the victims of the deadliest anti-LGBTQ act of violence in U.S. history. 

As AN reported earlier this year, six major architecture firms have already been shortlisted from an initial 68 submissions for onePULSE’s international design competition. The finalists include Diller Scofidio + Renfro, MASS Design Group, MVRDV, and Studio Libeskind. While no winner has been announced yet, the process of soliciting proposals and selecting the designer has progressed steadily since the shooting in June 2016. The foundation’s plan for the site includes using the original nightclub building and constructing an additional 30,000-square-foot museum nearby. There is also an effort to integrate the memorial and museum into a broader urban design plan that would connect the former nightclub to downtown Orlando. If this is executed, visitors will be able to walk along the planned Orlando Health Survivors Walk, leading them to various sites involved in the aftermath of the shooting.

As for CCAPM, activists argue that funds used for the construction of the museum building should be directed towards victims’ families and survivors of the incident, not towards a tourist attraction. According to the organization’s website, opponents of the construction project maintain that: “All funds raised should be used to expand existing services and ensure that all survivors get the financial support, medical services, community support programs, and mental health care they need for life.”

The museum is expected to cost $45 million, including $40 million in construction costs and additional funds for staff salaries. As the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this summer, onePULSE’s proposed budget includes a $150,000 annual salary for Barbara Poma, who established the Pulse nightclub in 2004 in memory of her brother, a victim of the AIDS epidemic. Poma is now the CEO of the onePULSE foundation. 

With an exhibition of the proposed designs set to open at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando this October, there is no sign that onePULSE will significantly alter its plan to construct the museum. According to NBC News, the foundation responded to continuing allegations that it is profiting off of victims’ traumatic experiences by assuring that it is listening to all concerns closely: “We respect the thoughts and opinions of everyone in the community who was affected by this tragic event and are taking them all into consideration on how we move forward.”

The memorial and museum are slated to officially open in 2022.

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Museum of Modern Art receives massive gift of African contemporary artwork

French-Italian art collector Jean Pigozzi has gifted New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) a substantial collection of contemporary artwork from across Africa. The 45 pieces included in the donation feature work by Sierra Leonean artist Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Malian photographer Seydou Keïta, and Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez, whose fantastical models of cityscapes formed the retrospective exhibition Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams at MoMA last year. According to MoMA, Pigozzi’s is the largest single gift of African art that the museum has ever received and will contribute significantly to future displays of its permanent collection.

Born in Paris to Italian businessman and Simca-founder Henri Pigozzi, Jean Pigozzi amassed his fortune through inheritance and a variety of enterprises, including photography and fashion design. He jumpstarted his collection of African contemporary art in 1989, soon after seeing the exhibit Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Curator André Magnin lent considerable guidance as Pigozzi accumulated upwards of 10,000 pieces, now widely recognized as one of the largest collections of African contemporary art in the world. Pigozzi has maintained his holdings as the Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) in Geneva, which has no permanent galleries for exhibition. Pieces from the CAAC have been lent to museums and galleries across Africa, Europe, and North America for a range of temporary exhibits.

The move by Pigozzi sheds light on a broader effort by MoMA to overcome its longstanding focus on American and European modernism. The museum’s leaders have been appealing to donors with collections that highlight other regions of the world, including Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, who has given Latin American artwork to the institution twice since 2016. For MoMA, the acquisition may represent an opportunity for both redemption and growth. Between 1984 and 1985, the museum held an exhibit titled ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, which many have excoriated for promoting reductive, racist, and deeply ingrained notions of African inferiority. The Pompidou show that catalyzed Pigozzi’s collection was largely considered a rebuttal to MoMA’s own curatorial efforts, prompting Pigozzi himself to spend much of his life advocating for African contemporary art as on-par with, and often more interesting than, Western examples.

The growing stature of African contemporary art on the global stage extends well beyond MoMA’s walls. Earlier this year, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair made its Manhattan debut at New York’s Industria, six years after its founding in London and four years after popping up in Brooklyn. In 2016, the international auction house Sotheby’s opened a department dedicated to African art in London, which has been frequented not only by Europeans but also by wealthy collectors from Nigeria, Kenya, and elsewhere in Africa. MoMA is likely looking to get in on the action, and Pigozzi’s gift presents the institution with its best opening yet.

While it is still unclear exactly how curators will incorporate Pigozzi’s pieces into the MoMA’s permanent collection displays, they are sure to play a role in the museum’s continuing growth. MoMA’s newly expanded facility, including its reconfigured permanent collection galleries, will open to the public on October 21, 2019.

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The Cayton Children's Museum turns an L.A. mall into a playscape

395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 374 Santa Monica, CA 424-416-8320 The 21,000-square-foot Cayton Children’s Museum is a new multilevel experience curated to engage children with the physical world. OFFICEUNTITLED (formerly R&A Design), a Culver City, California–based firm, has designed a space for children to explore unhindered, as the nets, colorful palette, costume lockers, full-size helicopter and firetruck, and even a wall covered in pool noodles are all intended to spur tactile interaction without requiring constant adult supervision. The museum is on the third floor of the open-air Santa Monica Place mall, an adaptive reuse project on the top floor of the Frank Gehry-designed building. Despite being titled as a children's museum, the space provides a welcome respite for parents and children alike. However, if visitors walk past the enormous aardvark carved from plywood that houses the reception desk, they’ll find the “Courage Climber,” an entire level made from nets, which only children can access and that spans 20 percent of the museum’s footprint. Other architecturally scaled objects house the museum’s various non-exhibition programmatic elements such as ticketing and security, including the “Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, Houses and Drum.” The space is broken into five exhibition “neighborhoods” with distinct educational elements. Launch Your is a space for zero-to-two-year-old children to explore different topological arrangements through touch and is intended to help them strengthen their coordination. In Let’s Help, children can explore what it means to be a farmer, veterinarian, or first responder. The Together We section has been stocked with exhibitions meant to promote group activities and team building. In Reach for, visitors can stretch their legs and climb all over the web of nets. Finally, things slow down in Reflect On, where children are encouraged to take a more contemplative attitude about the world and consider how they can better connect with nature. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $14, but the museum will be free for low-income families during the first year.