NEW MUSEUMS & GALLERIES


Cultural Boom: Who Said There Was A Crisis?

Ana B. Remos


New spaces dedicated to culture around the world herald a new artistic boom.


 

The world of culture is in luck, and nothing can stop its evolution. New art centers and museums proliferate around the globe defying any crisis or possible adversity because our need for artistic expression is unavoidable. In this article, we will take a brief tour through some the newest temples of creativity.

It has not even been a year since the opening of Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, on November of 2012. Israel´s President Simon Peres officially inaugurated the museum, which aims to show Jewish cultural traditions and customs, as well as the history of Russia through the prism of this religious group. Peres described it as “an eloquent declaration of principles of tolerance towards people and their freedom.” The Tolerance Centre will be a platform for dialogue on issues related to mutual understanding, respect and intercultural relations and will house permanent and temporary exhibitions. It is currently the world’s largest Jewish Museum.

Museo Judío y Centro de Tolerancia
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.

“We organized the Museum as a chronological journey along two axes, both leading up to World War II”, said museum designer Ralph Appelbaum. The tour begins with the screening of a short film titled The Beginning, which covers the period from the Creation to the star of the Diaspora. Afterwards, visitors are greeted by a large “emigration map”, which illustrates the geographical dispersion of the Hebrew people. The excellent documentary images recount the exodus to cities at the end of the 19th century and more tragic events such as the ravages of World War II.

Additionally, other world museums are expanding their facilities to accommodate more works. Such is the case of Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary art, MOCA, which inaugurated a new building on October 8th, 2012. The new structure was created as a catalyst for creativity and growth. The building, designed by Iranian architect Farshid Moussavi, is located in the heart of Cleveland with an area of 34,000 square feet. According to the project’s architect, today´s museums are not limited to the display of art; they have multiple functions. “The main goal of our plan for MOCA Cleveland is to provide an ideal setting for artists and visitors and to encourage creativity and variety of exhibits and programs”, she said.

MOCA
MOCA. / Photos: Dean Kaufman.

Jill Snyder, the Museum’s executive director, added: “the design of this building is the perfect expression of the philosophy and objectives of the Museum”. The 60-feet tall building has four levels that emerge from a hexagonal base, ending in a square plan roof where the main exhibition spaces are located. Its facade reflects the urban environment, and it changes its appearance through natural light, time of day or weather conditions.

In Brazil, culture is also booming; there are a growing number of new museums recently opened, and many more arts places on the way. The Museum of Latin American Art, Casa Daros, opened its doors in March of 2013 in Rio de Janeiro’s Botafogo district, in a 19th century cloister classified as a historic monument. This neoclassical building covers an area of 118,000 square feet and will host major exhibitions for Rio’s cultural circuit, one of the host cities of the FIFA 2014 World Cup and organizer of the 2016 Olympic Games. The museum holds the Zurich-based Daros Latin American Art collection, which comprises more than 1,200 works of art.

Casa Daros
Casa Daros. / Photos: André Nazareth, Jaqueline Félix.

The Rio Art Museum (MAR) made its debut on February of 2013. It is poised to become the city’s cultural heart since it received an impressive grant of $40 million from the municipality. But there is still more culture coming to the Carioca city: the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava; the Fashion Museum, and the new Museum of Image and Sound.

Smaller and more modest art centers are as valuable as large museums with astronomical budgets since these are the hallmarks of creative innovation. Mexico City’s Collective Culture is a fine example. Inaugurated on October 25th, 2012, it is a forum for cultural diffusion and a platform for emerging creative talent. Its founders decided to bring the digital platform into a physical space. The project is named CC 186, and it promotes an agenda of exhibitions devoted to art, photography, street art, music, multimedia, design and architecture. Furthermore, they counsel visual artists through workshops devoted to contemporary art. We invite you to navigate their website and become better acquainted with their work.

If you thought, for a moment, that the arts were in crisis, no doubt the opening of new art centers will help you think otherwise. As humans, we have never stopped questioning and admiring the value of art and artists. When that circumstance is heard, and society answers by opening new spaces for art development, it is certainly a cause for celebration.

 


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