1. MoMA Plans for Major Expansion
This week the Museum of Modern Art in New York City officially filed plans for its rumored $93 million expansion to the institution’s existing building.
The addition, to be designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfrom, will be built over the property that was once the American Folk Art Museum, before MoMA purchased and demolished the building over a year ago. While the inclusion of apartment complexesin the museum’s expansion has garnered a great deal of attention, the plan also looks to turn the museum into a more dynamic gathering place, with theaters, more exhibition space, lounges, gardens and a library.
2. France Proposes Cultural Asylum Program in Face of Terrorism
After reopening in the face of terrorist attacks, France’s museums are now emerging at the forefront of an international effort to protect cultural treasures all over the world from the threat of terrorism.
Jean-Luc Martinez, president of Paris’ Musée du Louvre, has released a plan that would include France providing “asylum” to artifacts threatened or targeted by acts of terrorism and a new European committee to monitor possibly illicit art trades. France’s government is debating the plan but Martinez hopes that some version of its protectional efforts would be adapted by both the nation and UNESCO. More than protecting ancient culture, the proposed plan may be a way to combat terrorism itself, as Martinez estimates that around 20% of ISIS’ funding comes from the illicit sale of cultural objects they have looted.
3. Major Heist at Verona Museum
This past Thursday, three masked robbers entered the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, Italy and made off with 15 artworks, worth a total of $16 million.
The thieves entered the museum during the evening changing of its guards and took a guard and cashier hostage before stealing artworks by such Old Masters as Peter Paul Rubens, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Francesco Caroto and Hans de Jode. The robbers, taking part in a rising trend of museum robberies across Europe, were incredibly knowledgeable about both the structure of the museum and the artworks they were looking for. Authorities even speculated to The Telegraph that the robbery may have been executed at the order of a collector.
4. Mu Xin Subject of New Museum in China
While he was jailed by Chinese authorities during his lifetime for his intellectual role as an artist, writer and poet, the late Mu Xin has now received his own museum in his hometown of Wuzhen.
The Mu Xin Art Museum, located an hour outside Shanghai, was designed by American firm OLI Architecture and is overseen by artist Chen Danqing, who studied with Xin in New York. The building itself, comprised of eight floating galleries, was influenced by the minimalistic, fluid style of Xin’s paintings. The galleries are filled with both permanent and temporary exhibitions including Prison Notes, a showcase of the art Xin created behind bars. Notes is iconic both in its recognition of Xin’s persevering dedication to create art and in its recognition of Xin’s dissident, criminal status. That such an artist could be honored with his own museum truly marks a new era in the relationship between China’s government and artists.
5. Electronic Music Museum Coming to Berlin
This week also posed the question: “Well, why shouldn’t techno music get its own museum?” As founder of club Tresor, a legendary Berlin club for techno and house music, Dimitri Hegemann is wondering just that.
Hegemann is planing to open the Living Archive of Electronica in Berlin to recognize both the genre of music and Berlin’s key role in its cultural development. He has announced that the archive will open in the fall of 2016, marking the 25th anniversary of the Tresor club and directly competing with Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Electronic Music that is set to open in 2017. Hegemann explained: “I will call it the Living Archive of Electronica because techno here in Berlin is still a living, inspiring and vivid movement.”