Posts tagged with "Museums":

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OMA to design expansion of Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery

This is OMA week. After unveiling the refurbished Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, the New York- and Rotterdam-based firm announced that they have received the commission to design an $80 million expansion to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. This will be the firm's first art museum project in the United States: OMA beat out four other offices—Snøhetta, BIG, Allied Works, and wHY—for the job, dubbed AK360, which will expand exhibition space for Albright-Knox's modern and contemporary art collection. Firm principal Shohei Shigematsu will be leading the design team. The board of directors approved a development and expansion plan two years ago to accommodate a collection that's quadrupled in size since 1962, the year of the museum's last major (SOM–designed) expansion. Currently, Albright-Knox can only display 200 to 300 of the 8,000 works in its permanent collection. The expansion will double exhibition space, as well as add space for education facilities, dining, and events space while better integrating the museum with the Olmsted–designed park around it. The commission comes fresh off of the completion of the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, another project that knits a city's landscape to a museum. It's fitting that OMA will be working in Buffalo, a city that capitalizes on its rich architectural heritage to spur tourism and investment. The museum, which is situated adjacent a local cultural district, hopes that the OMA project will have a spillover (uh, Guggenheim) effect on the ailing postindustrial city that's nevertheless experiencing a modest uptick in economic fortunes compared to neighboring cities. Shohei Shigematsu, along with artist Mark Bradford and Albright-Knox's director Janne Sirén, will give a talk at Art Basel next week on the role of art museums in social change. There's no date for construction as of yet, although the next phase of the "envisioning process" will begin this September.
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The Palestinian Museum opens, but with no exhibits

Situated on the West Bank north of Jerusalem, The Palestine Museum has officially opened, only one key feature is missing: the exhibits. Using white Bethlehem limestone to form angular volumes that rise up from the rugged site, the museum is designed by Dublin-based firm Heneghan Peng. Sitting on land gifted from the local Birzeit University, the $60 million project has had, much like its surroundings, endured a rocky journey. Initially conceived in 1997, political turbulence has stopped and stalled the museum's progress, however, some two decades on, it is finally here. The only thing left to do now is to fill it. Interestingly, one museum that did open in that timeframe (in 1999) was the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind in Berlin. This, like Heneghan Peng's, opened without any exhibits and in fact remained that way for some two years. Attracting much attention, many critics even called for the museum to remain empty such was the power of its spatial qualities. The same however, has not yet been said of The Palestine Museum, though its emptiness could potentially be seen as some form of commentary on its locality. Nonetheless, exhibits are on the way and its inaugural exhibition Never Part is set to showcase artefacts of Palestinian refugees. Even this, though, has been delayed after a dispute between former director Jack Persekian and the museum’s board. The building itself, despite residing in a rocky location, actually sits on terracing intended to reflect the stepped nature of the agricultural landscape, something the museum's chair, Omar al-Qattan has described as "symbolically critical." al-Qattan also commented that Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that the museum—even in opening exhibition-less—was worth it. Covering only 37,673 square feet, the building will hold a climate-controlled gallery space, classrooms, offices, and an amphitheater, along with the usual amenities including a cafeteria with outdoor seating and a gift shop. Further construction is also penned to be finished within the next ten years, adding 107,639 square feet which will accommodate more galleries. For the moment, the museum's primary exhibition space, as Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian reports, remains a windowless hall punctuated only by wheelbarrows, cement mixers, and prints of architectural drawings smeared in Arabic, answers to “What is Palestine?” “Oxygen,” says one. “A heavy load,” says another. “Goats scattered on a hillside,” reads a third. Come June 1, whether it is filled or not, the museum will be opened to the public and free of charge - so there can be no complaints of getting your money's worth.
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Kengo Kuma wins competition for Hans Christian Andersen museum design

Japanse architect Kengo Kuma has been awarded commission to design the expansion for the Hans Christian Anderson museum in Odense, Denmark. Fending off compeition from Barozzi Veiga and Snøhetta, and Denmark's own Bjarke Ingels Group, all of whom remained until the contests latter stages. The project aims to create a new home for the author behind childhood classics The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Little Mermaid. In order to achieve this, the museum's expansion will carry a fairytale theme, captured in Kuma's plan for the museum that features a large garden filled with tall trees that are encompassed by circular timber structures. Covering 64,600 square feet, these volumes will house new multipurpose spaces as well as an underground level. A "Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children" also part of the scheme, will aim to instill a sense of empathy and imagination in visitors, echoing the themes in Christian Anderson's tales while also teaching the children of his work. Odense's mayor Anker Boye, who was also the jury chairman for the competition said: "The proposal has a unique quality that captures the spirit of both Hans Christian Andersen and Odense, has striking international calibre and is locally embedded at the same time. It is a project that I can only imagine taking place here in Odense. But at the same time, it points far beyond anything local or national. It is internationally "Odensean"." Kuma's scheme revolves partly around what the British exhibition design firm Event Communications submitted as a winning proposal earlier in the year. Jane Jegind, Odense's Alderwoman for Urban and Cultural Affairs said that this was an "unusual" procedure, but was one of Kuma's project's strengths. "In planning the project, it was important to us that gardens, building and exhibition design were envisaged as an interconnected whole that clearly captures the spirit of Andersen and brings out the essence of the City of Odense at the same time, she said. The project's funds look set to be finalized by the end of this year, with ground breaking shortly after. Kuma himself will then open both the Olympic stadium in Tokyo and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense when the two projects are due to be complete in 2020.
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Carnegie Science Center raises money for new Science Pavilion

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have announced a new fundraising campaign entitled “SPARK! A Campaign for Carnegie Science Center” to raise the $34.5 Million needed to build a new three-story Science Pavilion addition to the current Carnegie Science Center. Situated along the Ohio River, the Carnegie Science Center was designed by Pittsburgh-based Tasso Katselas in 1991. The new pavilion would add 37,000 square feet of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning Labs and a Special Exhibitions Gallery to the center. The new pavilion’s nine STEM Labs would include 5,800 square feet of classrooms. Three of these classrooms would be flexible in size and format to facilitate different classroom needs, and one room will be specifically designed for “young learners.” A multipurpose space will be used for the center’s educator professional development program, the Teaching Excellence Academy. The new 14,000 square foot Special Exhibitions Gallery will be able to house large traveling exhibitions and serve as a flex space for larger science educational experiments. The space will also be utilized for lectures, forums, and community discussions. As part of the Carnegie Museum system, theSpecial Exhibitions Gallery will be available for use by the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Andy Warhol Museum. So far over $26.5 million has been raised of the $34.5 million needed.
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McCormick Place Lakeside Center demolition proposed to keep Lucas Museum in Chicago

In the latest chapter of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts’ saga, a proposal has been put forward to tear down the McCormick Place Lakeside Center to make room for the MAD-designed museum. The Lucas Museum is currently tied up in a legal battle with Friends of the Parks, a public space advocacy group, despite being approved by the city. In a desperate attempt to stop the museum from once again moving its location to another city, the City of Chicago expressed its support of a plan that would replace the Gene Summers and Helmut Jahn-designed McCormick Place Lakeside Center. The 1971 McCormick Place Lakeside Center is located just south of the Soldier Field parking lot, the site that the museum was originally going to replace. The Lakeside Center is noted for having the larges space frame roof in the world, a feat that allows for its mostly uninterrupted interior. The plan to demolish the Lakeside Center is backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Blare Kamin. In an October article Kamin referred to the building as the “shorline’s Berlin Wall.” Among other concerns, what has not been made clear by the city is where a new convention space would be built to replace the Lakeside center, or who would pay for it. Friends of the Parks has not yet made a statement on whether they would continue to challenge the museum’s placement if it was to move to the Lakeside Center site.
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The Kurds may have a Libeskind-designed museum

Just this Monday on April 11, Studio Libeskind announced a major controversial new project: the New York based firm is designing a museum to document the art and culture of the Kurdish people, the first of its kind. The Kurdistan Museum will be located in Erbil, Iraq, below its historic Citadel—the city’s original center and a World Heritage Site that some say is the longest inhabited town in the world. The unveiled renderings reveal architect Daniel Libeskind’’s famous sharp edges and strict angles that create a sense of openness and claustrophobia at the same time. (One his well-known project is the Jewish Museum in Berlin). The design for the 150,000 square foot museum features four wings or “fragments” that meet at the center. They represent the four major homes of the Kurds: Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. There are also two paths, a concrete one that the architect calls the Anfal line to represent Kurdish genocide, and the other, a latticed form rising above a garden path, with an eternal flame to represent freedom. Libeskind’s schematic sketches highlight the struggle of the nationless Kurdish people—and how to give form to their past and present, while looking towards the future. In one sketch, Libeskind noted a fracture. But he said there’s also resilience, freedom, and the importance of memory and reflection. “The design had to navigate between two extreme emotions: sadness and tragedy, through the weight of history, and of joy and hope, as the nation looks to the future,” he said in a statement. The museum will hold galleries for permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as an education center, a community space, and more. The Kurdistan Regional Government, along with film and multimedia company RWF World (the client representative), is backing the project. But due to the political nature of the project, funding for the $250 million museum has yet to be secured, with funds being directed toward the current war effort. “The Kurds in Iraq are currently engaged in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS), which has been covered widely by the international media,” said Studio Libeskind in a press release. “The construction of the museum will begin once the region is stabilized and the threat posed by ISIS is minimized.”      
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MoMA to close galleries dedicated to architecture and design

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is closing its galleries dedicated to architecture and design. The museum is famous, of course, for having the first sustained department of architecture and design of any museum in the world. (There was a short-lived one at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in the 19th century.) Since at least the 1960s, MoMA has had dedicated spaces reserved for its vast—and ever expanding—collection of nearly 30,000 architectural models, works on paper, design objects, and interiors like the Frankfurt Kitchen. These galleries, along with the Edward Steichen Photography and Paul J. Sachs Drawings galleries, are what the museum calls “medium-specific” galleries. These rooms will also be absorbed into larger spaces devoted to general exhibitions and displays of the museum’s collection. The Terence Riley–designed third floor Johnson galleries, which has served to display the design collection since 2004, has been demounted and put into storage. Now the exhibit A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond is in that space. The other still-existing architecture gallery on the same floor will disappear with the end of Pedro Gadanho’s show on Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House. In addition before the gallery is dismounted a memorial to Zaha Hadid will be mounted in the space. The museum claims that this is a temporary result of the current Diller Scofidio and Renfro (DS+R) renovation and expansion and has not “made any statements yet on how the collection will be displayed following the expansion.” During this period of reorganization, the galleries will be repurposed for general collection and themed exhibitions. The museum is clear to point out that this does not mean the end of large themed traveling or loaned exhibitions devoted to architecture and design. A spokesperson for the museum claims that “By being flexible and not rigid with our spaces, we are able to show the collection in many new and different ways. That isn't to say that this is permanent—it's a period of trying things out.” There is, for example, a new mixed-media installation of work taken from the museum’s collection on the 1960s that will be “among the new ways that [we are] showing the collection during construction.” The museum also asserts “MoMA will be presenting its collection in new contexts. Exhibitions will continue to include those focused only on mediums such as architecture and design. We will continue to have a robust program of collecting, conserving, and exhibiting architecture and design.” There has been a trend in the museum world toward these sorts of multi-disciplinary exhibitions that display work for all the arts under a same title. The Tate Modern has been doing this for many years (perhaps because it does not have an architecture collection) and MoMA seems to be finally joining this display bandwagon.

This new reconfiguration, where medium-specific galleries are closed and the  architecture and design collections are merged into the larger ones, will have effects for both the collection and the importance of architecture and design in the museum. If you visit MoMA today with the aim of viewing its significant collection of architecture drawings, models, and design objects, then you will no longer be able to see them in a focused and dedicated room. In the longer run, it means that architecture and design will be competing with all the other departments and curators for exhibition space. Architecture has traditionally been the most difficult of the arts to display and much of the time it develops with little or no overt connection to the other arts. It could be good to see architecture and design placed into a larger context of the arts, but it’s not hard to imagine—given the role they have traditionally played in art history and museums—that architecture will be sidelined and used only to create and frame connections, not to drive a particular movement. It is possible that all curators believe their disciplines are unique, but architecture needs to be seen in a setting that not only foregrounds art, but also the constraints and influences of materials, client demands, etc. The museum is making a point of saying that this is not a permanent change and for the sake of the architecture and design collections, lets hope that the DS+R scheme, which has not been made public, will include galleries devoted to architecture and design.
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José Esparza Chong Cuy named associate curator at MCA Chicago

José Esparza Chong Cuy has been appointed the new curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago. Most recently, Esparza was working in Mexico City as the associate curator at Museo Jumex. There, he co-curated exhibitions that focused on the work of Latin American artists. Previously, Esparza was a curatorial collaborator at New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture and a research fellow at the New Museum. In addition to curating, he has covered "Latin American art practices" for Domus. Esparza has a Master in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University in 2012. In a statement, MCA chief curator Michael Darling praised Esparza and his qualifications: "'When I met José over a year ago on a tour at the Museo Jumex, I was immediately impressed by his poise and intellect. With our longstanding interest in art from Latin America, we now have in José an articulate advocate for presenting the best work being made in that region. Mexico City is one of the most exciting cities in the world for contemporary art, and José's deep knowledge of that scene will immediately enrich our dialogues here at the MCA. José is also active in architecture and design circles and that knowledge, alongside his expertise in contemporary art, will find a natural fit here at the MCA where we regularly venture out into parallel fields of activity. I think he will immediately become a great asset to our community.'" Esparza will assume his post on April 18.
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Steven Holl to execute master plan study for Williams College Museum of Art

This year, Williams College trumped rival Amherst in the spurious U.S. News & World Report college rankings, stealing the "#1 College" title from their neighbor to the east. Defending the crown is tough work, but an infusion of high-profile architecture can't hurt: New York–based Steven Holl Architects announced today that they will design a master plan study for Williams's Museum of Art and Art Department.Established in 1926, the Williams College Museum of Art has 14,000 pieces in its collection that range from antiquity to the present. It is a teaching museum, designed to give students firsthand access to major works of art. Steven Holl's study for the museum and the Art Department is organized around five principles: Creating spaces for exhibiting and teaching art, connecting interior spaces with the campus, making the architecture contextual and complementary, harmonizing the visual arts with other arts on campus, and expanding the presence of the museum and the department on campus. Several on-campus sites are being considered for new buildings to expand the department's footprint. "Historically one of the most important launching institutions for museum leaders around the world, Williams College extends its dedication to excellence in art education with this new campus development phase,” said Steven Holl, in a statement. Museum and education design is a well-worn path for the practice: Steven Holl has created facilities for Columbia University, MIT, and the Glasgow School of Art, among others. Currently, work in underway at Princeton University, the Kennedy Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The master plan anchors Williams as a destination in the well-established Berkshires arts scene. The college is a mile from the Clark Art Institute, with its Tadao Ando–designed expansion. It's also a fifteen minute drive from North Adams, home of MASS MoCA and two planned museums, The Global Contemporary Art Museum and The Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum, the latter two both designed by Gluckman Tang.
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Oakland wants George Lucas's Museum

Back in San Francisco in early 2014, the Presidio Trust rejected revised plans for three different cultural space options on an 8-acre site. One idea was a proposal for George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art in The Presidio, a 1,500-acre park in northern San Francisco. He then abandoned his San Francisco plans to build a museum to house his cinema, digital, and narrative art collections. He went to Chicago, where his wife grew up. But the proposed Chicago site has faced lengthy disputes. Nonprofits are worried that his 300,000-square-foot museum on land near Burnham Harbor would set a new precedent for private lakefront development on land that is protected for public use. The proposed site is currently a Chicago Bears' football parking lot. The city intends to lease the land for 99 years at a cost of only ten dollars. Beijing–based firm MAD Architects was tapped for the $700 million project that has been mired in legal disputes for over a year. Now, George Lucas may have another option: reconsider the Bay area. According to the San Francisco Business Times, the City of Oakland is trying to get his attention. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's spokeswoman, Erica Terry Derryck, told the Business Times: “If plans for a museum in Chicago do not come to fruition, we’d be thrilled to explore the possibility of this exciting project coming to life in Oakland.” So far, we wait until mid-April, when federal judge John W. Darrah comes to a decision on whether construction on the Chicago project can start.
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How Graves, Koolhaas, and Piano would have altered Marcel Breuer's iconic Madison Avenue museum

This month, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is opening the Met Breuer, replacing the Whitney Museum of American Art that called the Brutalist showpiece home for nearly five decades. Last year, the Whitney moved to Renzo Piano's building in the Meatpacking District. The Met is renting the Breuer (now the Met Breuer) on an eight-year lease while David Chipperfield works on a new space for contemporary art. The site of the Met's latest acquisition, however, has a colourful past, fending off near misses from Graves to Koolhaas and Piano.  AN Takes a look at what so nearly could have been.                                 In 1989, the New York Times ran the headline: "The Whitney Paradox: To Add Is To Subtract." Such was Paul Goldberger's distaste for what Michael Graves had originally proposed to lie adjacent to Marcel Breuer's building. Indeed, Graves' Postmodern proposal gave rise to Goldberger questioning: "What value does the Breuer building have, both as a work of architecture unto itself and as a part of the streetscape? And how gingerly, therefore, should it be treated?" Built in 1966, Marcel Breuer's Modernist granite building may be the epitome of abstract architecture, having remained detached for so long, shooing away any potential plunderers of its monumental message. Breuer, a Hungarian and product of Gropius' Bauhaus, went so far as to erect concrete walls to resist interaction with adjacent buildings, keeping them at arm's length.
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Toshiko Mori–designed contemporary art museum to open in seaside Maine town this summer

Each August, hoards of crustacean-aficionados descend on Rockport for the town's famous Maine Lobster Festival. You can do like David Foster Wallace, but why not head north to neighboring Rockland a little earlier to catch the opening of the Toshiko Mori–designed Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA)? The former chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD was tapped to design the CMCA's new home three years ago. Although Mori has designed for museums (including a 7,300-square-foot canopy at the Brooklyn Children's Museum) before, this is her first full-scale museum commission. The 11,500-square-foot building's wall-to-wall glass and corrugated metal exterior is designed to optimize Maine's "legendary light." In addition to 5,500 square feet of gallery space, the structure features an ArtLab and a 2,200-square-foot public courtyard. Currently under construction, the museum is slated to open on June 26, 2016. Founded in 1952 as an artists' cooperative, CMCA eschews a permanent collection in favor of providing a forum for living artists with ties to Maine to display their work. The museum operated out of a downtown fire station livery stable for fifty years as Maine Coast Artists before the museum assumed its current name and program under former director Mildred Cummings. Despite (or in spite of) its distance from major population centers and small size, Rockland is an arts hub: CMCA is across the street from the Farnsworth Art Museum, another art museum dedicated to Maine, and adjacent to the historic venue Strand Theatre.