Torey Akers, Lee Cheshire & Tom Seymour, The big museum openings and expansions of 2024, The Art Newspaper, 22 December 2023
The Grand Egyptian Museum should open at last, while Masp in São Paulo gets a tower-block extension.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Masp)
São Paulo, Brazil
Opening late 2024, cost undisclosed
How do you build an extension to a museum that hovers above the ground, its main bulk supported on elephantine legs? And one that is a famed example of Modern architecture and a landmark of its city?
The trick is to dig down: Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Masp) is creating an underground tunnel that will link to a new 14-storey tower block across the road. With a minimalist grey façade, the new block avoids visually impinging on the original building, while mirroring its shape and size. Opened in 1968 and considered the masterpiece of its architect Lina Bo Bardi, the original building will be renamed in her honour; while the new one will be named after her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, the founding director of the institution.
The expansion meets a sore need for new space, as only 1% of the collection’s 11,000 objects are on display. Five floors will be new galleries, increasing space by 66%, for a total of 190,000 sq. ft. It was conceived by the architect Júlio Neves and co-designed by Metro Arquitetos Associados, who previously helped the museum recreate Bo Bardi’s famous glass display stands.
Opening 11 May, cost NKr710m ($66m)
It used to be all the rage to turn disused power stations into art galleries: now flour mills and grain silos are the next post-industrial buildings to find new lives. Following in the footsteps of South Africa’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is Kunstsilo, a new institution on the quayside in Kristiansand, a small city on the very southern tip of Norway. The original grain silo was completed in 1934 and won a national prize for modern, functionalist architecture; it will now have three floors and 35,500 sq. ft of exhibition space. The art on show will be drawn from two collections: the local government’s stock of southern Norwegian art and the 5,000-strong collection put together by the former hedge fund manager and philanthropist Nicolai Tangen, which focuses on Nordic Modernist art.
Grand Egyptian Museum
Opening May, cost $1bn
The Grand Egyptian Museum, was 99% ready in October 2022. Yet it remained closed and shrouded in mystery in 2023. Surely, 2024 will be the year when the museum’s collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts finally go on show?
The museum promises to be amazing in the truest sense of the word. More than 100,000 items are held, including objects from Tutankhamun’s tomb. The building will include a viewing gallery where visitors can look out over the Pyramids and consider their construction – which, by all accounts, also took a long time.
New York, US
Opening late 2024, cost $290m
You have just a few more months to see the Frick Collection in its temporary home at 945 Madison Avenue, the Marcel Breuer-designed Modernist building that was previously home to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met Breuer. It will close on 3 March and the building will then be taken over by Sotheby’s auction house.
The Frick’s sojourn in Madison Avenue was to allow a comprehensive renovation and redevelopment of its historic home on Fifth Avenue, facing Central Park. The project marks the first comprehensive upgrade of its facilities in almost 90 years. The restored museum and library will include new exhibition, education and conservation spaces, as well as increased accessibility and new public amenities.
The museum’s unparalleled trove of fine and decorative arts once belonged to Henry Clay Frick, a prominent US steel industrialist and arts patron, who bequeathed his Beaux-Arts mansion and its storied holdings to the public on his death in 1919.
Selldorf Architects has sought to preserve the history of the Frick with an eye towards operational longevity. On reopening, the stately mansion will be open to visitors on the second floor, offering an exciting glimpse into the inner sanctum of the property, which has been converted into new gallery spaces displaying small-scale works from the museum’s holdings.
“The second floor was where the family’s private rooms were, the bedrooms and so forth, and they’re smaller scale than the grand rooms downstairs that people know,” says the Frick’s director, Ian Wardropper. “I think people will love being able to go and get a sense of how the whole house worked. We’ve preserved or brought back the decorations that were there. It gives us 15 more rooms upstairs to show the collection.”
Opening April, cost £27m
Bonnie Prince Charlie spent his life known as “the Young Pretender”, the Stuart claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. Next March, the pretender’s silver-hilted sword will go on public display for the first time. The sword was made in Perth in 1739 but has never returned to Scotland until now, where it will go on show in the new Perth Museum, which has been converted from the former city hall. Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, who were also behind Manchester’s Home arts centre, it will tell the story of Perth as Scotland’s first capital. Another key object on show will be the Stone of Destiny, on which British monarchs are crowned.
Reinhard Ernst Museum
Opening 2024, cost €80m
Reinhard Ernst made his money from manufacturing precision machine parts: with it he has built up a collection of more than 860 paintings and sculptures, which will go on show in 2024 in a purpose-built museum in Wiesbaden, the German city in which he lives, near Frankfurt. The collection focuses on abstraction (German post-war art, Japanese art, primarily Gutai, and American Abstract Expressionism) and includes pieces by Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn and Helen Frankenthaler. The Reinhard & Sonja Ernst Foundation has been given a 99-year lease on its site by the city; the building is as abstract as its contents, designed by the firm of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki.