The art market turmoil of the past two years—including shutdowns, mask mandates, exhibition cancelations, and conflicts over deaccessioning—may look bad, but a rash of new museum openings internationally might be signaling a time of rebirth in the art world. Many of these major international building projects have been years in the making. After some delays, we can now celebrate and hope for a continued robust interest in art and the art world.
Tickets for the opening day, October 22, 2021, of a brand-new museum in Oslo devoted to Norway’s most revered artist Edvard Munch are already sold out. Disappointed visitors can find plenty of other opportunities to view over 200 examples of his work in this impressive new setting. The building, comprising eleven galleries stacked like a teetering tower of CDs on the city’s waterfront, was designed by the Spanish architectural firm Estudio Herreros. Besides many versions of Munch’s most famous painting, The Scream, other contemporary artists whose work continues to be influenced by Munch will be shown.
On September 7, 2021, The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) opened in St. Petersburg, Florida as the first museum dedicated to the universal values of craftsmanship, simplicity of design, and aesthetic authenticity espoused by the Arts and Crafts Movement. These ideals are reflected in the clean, modernist look of the building designed by Tampa-based Alfonso Architects. Founded by local businessman, philanthropist, and collector Rudy Ciccarello, the museum will showcase over 800 works of art made between 1890 to 1930.
Founded by philanthropist, collector, and Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is intended to inspire current and future generations through the art of visual storytelling. The museum, under construction in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park is designed by the Chinese architect Ma Yansong with Stantec as the architect-of-record and includes several theaters with state-of-the-art technology. It is scheduled to open in 2023.
Bourse de Commerce: The Pinault Collection is a new venue for contemporary art situated between the Louvre and the Pompidou Center in a historic building renovated by the great Japanese architect Tadao Ando. This exhibition space—designed to house over 10,000 works created by nearly 400 artists in the 1960s, all from the collection of philanthropist Françoise Pinault—opened in early 2021, providing yet another great reason to visit the cultural mecca of Paris.
The Museum of North Vancouver
The Museum of North Vancouver (MoNOVA), a new home for contemporary art, is scheduled to open later this year. Conceived as both a museum and community center, the institution's administration acknowledges that the building is located on the traditional lands of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations people. This mea culpa is part of Canada’s ongoing reckoning with its indigenous history.
The dynamic, new Humboldt Forum Berlin represents a unique partnership of four institutions under one roof. Officially opened in the heart of Berlin in July 2021, it is more than a museum. It is a collaborative effort between the arts and the sciences to encourage new ways of thinking about the past, to resolve differences in the present, and to face the challenges of the future.
The Museum of the Dog
The American Kennel Club recently opened a new museum dedicated to all things dog at its Manhattan headquarters on the corner of Park Avenue and 40th Street. The inaugural show of The Museum of the Dog featured Women and Dogs in Art in the Twentieth Century. The extensive, permanent collection of canine-connected fine art and artifacts includes paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, ceramics, and bronzes. Additionally, objects such as trophies, collars, and other ‘dog trappings’ are included in the collection.
The Pudong Museum of Art (PMoA), founded in collaboration with Tate Modern, is a stunning new Shanghai landmark that opened in 2021. This modernist concrete structure is the work of well-known French architect Jean Nouvel. The structure holds thirteen exhibition spaces across six floors. Home to a variety of fine art, from classical Chinese to Contemporary international work, the building also features a rooftop terrace that visitors can spend time on between galleries.
When it opens in November 2021, M+1 will be one of the largest structures in the world built to house and present contemporary art and culture. Designed by the Swiss architectural team of Herzog & de Meuron, this mega project reflects the open democracy and cultural diversity that Hong Kong seems determined to maintain, despite the external pressure of authoritarian Chinese-style rules.
Art Preserve is the first museum for artist-built environments. An extension of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, this experimental space—designed by the Denver-based firm Tres Birds—was created to provide access to the Art Center’s collection of site-specific art installations. Usually incorporating a wide diversity of unconventional materials, these works present unique exhibition and preservation challenges that Art Preserve was designed to address.