The final museum opening of 2017 was also the year’s most anticipated: the launch of the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in November. This year also promises to be a bumper year for museum openings and expansions. The season kicks off with the Hayward Gallery in London, which reopens this month after a much-needed, two-year face lift. Its refurbishment has involved replacing all 66 of its pyramid roof lights in the landmark Brutalist building on the South Bank. The first UK retrospective of the German photographer, Andreas Gursky, inaugurates the refurbished gallery (25 January – 22 April).
Other important launches in the pipeline include:
Royal Academy of Arts, London
The Royal Academy (RA) is undergoing a radical transformation for its 250th anniversary. Following a grand masterplan by the architect David Chipperfield, Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens in Mayfair are being linked up, uniting the two-acre site. The revamp encompasses a range of new spaces, including a double-height lecture theatre, a new series of galleries for temporary exhibitions and extended space for the RA Schools. Works from the RA’s under-the-radar collection, such as Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo (around 1504), will go on show in the new Collections Gallery in Burlington Gardens. The redevelopment is due to be unveiled 19 May.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU Broad)
The Zaha Hadid-designed MSU Broad is getting bigger, with an expansion stretching across Grand River Avenue due to open 14 April. The new wing, entitled the B2 Art Lab, will “provide additional exhibition spaces for its collection and a research centre focused on the museum of tomorrow”, an MSU Broad spokeswoman says. The new extension will allow more access to the museum’s 7,500-strong holdings which are both historical – encompassing antiquities inherited from the Kresge Art Museum – and contemporary (Jenny Holzer and Chuck Close are represented in the collection). “This expansion will be a lab where collaboration and new thinking can be tested,” says Marc-Olivier Wahler, the museum director.
Getty Villa, Los Angeles
The Getty has reorganised and renovated its acclaimed antiquities displays, switching from a thematic to a chronological arrangement. “The new presentation will take a stronger narrative approach,” says the Getty, tracing the chronology of the development of art in the Etruscan, Greek, and Roman cultures from the Bronze Age, around 3,000 BC, through to the late Roman Empire (600 AD). The opening, scheduled for 18 April, is marked by the show Plato in LA: Contemporary Artists’ Visions (18 April – 3 September). The exhibition examines the Greek philosopher’s impact on the contemporary world, featuring artists such as Jeff Koons and Rachel Harrison.
The long-awaited new Scottish outpost of the historic South Kensington museum is due to launch in the autumn. The museum building, located on the River Tay, has been designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma in the form of a ship. “V&A Dundee will present the largely untold story of Scotland’s outstanding design achievements, bringing together in one place the world-renowned V&A collections with loans from other collections in Scotland,” says a museum spokeswoman. Scottish Design Galleries will showcase more than 300 objects in thematic displays dating from the 15th century to today, while crowd-pleasing exhibitions launched at the V&A will tour to the Dundee satellite.
National Museum of Qatar, Doha
The French architect Jean Nouvel designed the Louvre Abu Dhabi and is responsible for another monumental museum in the Gulf, the new National Museum of Qatar, which is due to open in December. His interlocking disc design for the new Doha-based building is inspired by the desert rose. A star attraction in the new institution is the original palace of the former Emir, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, which is at the heart of the new institution. Historic items, such as dhows (traditional sailing vessels), and contemporary works will go on show in the new national museum which, says Sheikha Al Mayassa, the chair of Qatar Museums, “will reflect a part of every Qatari’s life, representing our roots and identity”.