In this exhibition, we consider the “new museum” to refer to the intersection of museology and museum architecture, as the embodiment of what the museum might look like in the future and what its functions will be. After the financial crisis of 2008, it became clear that so-called mega-museums are not necessarily models for success as a certain humility and return to essentials have come to predominate. In addition to well-known iconic mega-buildings, there are many smaller projects devoted to the specific task of redefining what objects of cultural value worthy of preservation might be.
“New Museums. Intentions, Expectations, Challenges”
May 11 – August 20, 2017
Musées d’art et d’histoire
Rue Charles-Galland, 2 1206 Genève
The “new museum” is faced with many challenges. It must meet the public’s expectations and it is required to be a visitor magnet; it has to be a place for ambitious study and conservation of cultural treasures; a reflection of the socio-cultural pulse; an economic attraction hoped to revitalise its urban surroundings; and an iconic landmark. Both innovative and respectful of traditions, the new museum is increasingly expected to be partially or wholly self-supporting rather than relying on state or private funding.
Museums play a pivotal role in our society because they shelter and safeguard our heritage and contribute to the re-telling of our history. Formerly regarded as a mere locus of knowledge, today in the Internet Age the museum is being re-defined as a social space and a space for experience and exchange.
China Comic and Animation Museum, Hangzhou, China, MVRDV, Rotterdam. National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Washington, D.C., USA, Adjaye Associates, New York/London. The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine, Heneghan Peng Architects, Dublin. Kurdistan Museum, Erbil, Iraq, Studio Libeskind, New York. Naga Site Museum, Naga, Sudan, David Chipperfield Architects Berlin.
Often located at the heart of cities, museums act as symbols, sometimes even iconic landmarks. Simultaneously, modern buildings also seek to establish continuity with their immediate environment and they engage with the city through the design of spaces adjacent to or within the building, where visitors’ paths converge and informal encounters can occur, ideally as part of daily life.
Sydney Modern Project – Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, SANAA, Tokyo. Kunstmuseum Basel Extension, Basel, Switzerland, Christ & Gantenbein, Basel. Pingtan Art Museum, Pingtan Island, China, MAD Architects, Beijing.
PRIVATE PUBLIC MUSEUMS
Over the centuries, museums shifted from the private into the public realm, and today museums are, mostly regarded as public institutions for the benefit of all. In the last decades, more and more private museums opened. They are often criticised for furthering personal agendas instead of being institutions ostensibly created for the good of society, although this increasing degree of privatisation is giving rise to audacity and to new ideas on how future museums could function.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town, South Africa, Heatherwick Studio, London. Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, China, Atelier Deshaus, Shanghai. Genesis Museum, Beijing, China, Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Osaka.
MUSEUMS AS COMMERCIAL ENTITIES
After the “Bilbao effect” heralded by the opening of Guggenheim museum, large museums seemed to have realised that there lies great economic value behind their names, and satellite museums, which draw from the collection, reputation and know-how of the mother institution, are being exported all over the world. As a stream of revenue for under-financed institutions, this strategy also leads to questions of distribution of art and culture.
Guggenheim Helsinki Helsinki, Finland Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, Paris.
RE-DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CLUSTERS
The deliberate placement of a museum building into formerly unspectacular areas is intended to revive a neighbourhood, a city or an entire region economically and culturally. The development of cultural clusters (including museums but also theatres, libraries, etc.) is a frequently used strategy. These clusters are conceived as a stimulus for touristic and economic growth and can even have a major social impact.
Plateforme10, Lausanne, Switzerland, mcb-a:, Barozzi/Veiga, Barcelona. mudac & Musée de l’Elysée: Manuel Aires Mateus and Francisco Aires Mateus, Lisbon. Munchmuseet, Oslo, Norway, estudio Herreros, Madrid. Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, Oslo, Norway, Klaus Schuwerk, Kleihues + Schuwerk Architects, Naples.