A cultural boom in the next year will see new galleries, many by celebrity architects, opening from Paris to Los Angeles.
You wouldn’t think that art museums and London buses have much in common – but after a long wait with no new openings, a whole lot of new cultural attractions are arriving at once. At the end of October, after 12 years in the making, the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation will open in Paris.
Designed by Frank Gehry, the art museum and cultural centre, sponsored by the French luxury goods brand, is a spectacular landmark in Bois de Boulogne park to the west of Paris. In keeping with Gehry’s penchant for abstract (and at times raucous) design, the museum is a shimmering and disjointed structure, consisting of 12 vast glass panels. It has been described by critics as resembling a ship, an insect and a whale.
Jennifer Higgie, London editor of contemporary art magazine Frieze, says the ambition of the project, especially during tough economic times, should be applauded. “The Foundation for Creation looks like it will be an extraordinary building,” she adds. “It will give artists, writers, curators and critics a brilliant new venue to exhibit in and respond to. What’s not to love?”
Its opening comes during a big week for Paris. Two days before – having seen five years of closure, controversy and sackings – the Picasso museum will reopen after a £40m renovation. Now doubled in size, the museum will be able to display many of the 5,000 Picasso drawings, sculptures, photographs and archive material that were previously hidden from public view.
Meanwhile in Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect Renzo Piano’s expansion of the Harvard Art Museums is close to completion and will open to the public in mid-November. The vast design wraps around the existing 1920s building, transforming and also dramatically enlarging the space.
All this follows the recent opening of the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado – designed by Shigeru Ban, another superstar architect. The stunning construction, which opened in August and features a woven wooden exterior, is not only attracting visitors for the exhibitions inside; the rooftop sculpture garden has a bar and outdoor screening space with a clear view of the Ajax mountain that looms over Aspen.
The run continues next year with the opening of The Broad contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles. Another museum that has been a long time coming, it will host the 2,000-piece collection of philanthropist Eli Broad.
Closer to home, a new London gallery to house the personal collection of British artist Damien Hirst is on the cards. The Newport Street Gallery – predictably dubbed Hirst’s Saatchi gallery – is set to open in spring 2015 and will take up an entire street of converted warehouses in Lambeth. The opening of this venue is also long overdue.
Celebrity architects aside, it seems if there is one thing all these places have in common, it is – like London buses – the inevitable delays.