Apollo
Competitions

Apollo Awards: Museum Opening of the Year

22 November 2013

We are pleased to present the shortlists for the Apollo Awards 2013 over the coming days, in advance of the release of our December issue. Every year, Apollo celebrates outstanding achievements in the art world, recognising the Book of the Year, Exhibition of the Year, Museum Opening of the Year, Acquisition of the Year and Personality of the Year. The winners and shortlisted candidates come from a 12-month period since late-October 2012 and have been chosen from nominations made by our editorial advisory panel.

The awards are intended to highlight the strength and diversity of the art world. Naturally, for every individual and institution noted here there will be others whose achievements also merit recognition. We welcome your comments and opinions below each shortlist.

We are extremely grateful to Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management for their sponsorship of the Apollo Awards 2013.

Museum Opening of the Year

A number of ambitious museum building and renovation projects reached their completion this year. Here is Apollo’s pick of the most impressive new venues to open their doors in 2013.

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, East Sussex

The Ditchling Museum focuses on one East Sussex village and the artists – including Eric Gill, David Jones, Frank Brangwyn and Edward Johnston – who were drawn to it in the early decades of the 20th century. It reopened this year following a £2.3m refurbishment, funded by local donors as well as a significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The original modest buildings have been linked and sensitively added to by Adam Richard Architects, creating an ensemble that feels modern while retaining its vernacular charm.

East Building, St Louis Art Museum, Missouri

David Chipperfield’s new building for the St Louis Art Museum has increased the gallery space here by a third. A sympathetic addition to Cass Gilbert’s main building of 1904, as well as to the vast park surrounding it, its generous and carefully lit galleries accommodate much of the museum’s exceptional collection of post-war German art (Max Beckmann moved to St Louis after the Second World War). It features major works by Jackson Pollock and Richard Serra, alongside other significant post-war American holdings.

101 Spring Street, New York

Donald Judd’s five-storey home and studio at 101 Spring Street, New York, reopened this year following a $23m project to restore the building and conserve it for future generations. The Judd Foundation have faithfully recreated Judd’s careful installation of artworks and furniture, reflecting the artist’s original vision of the building as a place to live and work peacefully in a city that otherwise offered little rest. Now open to visitors, it promises to enrich our understanding of Judd as a man and artist, beyond the simplifications of the ‘minimalist’ label. See Apollo, July/August.

The Kunstkammer, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Vienna Kunstkammer, which comprises the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s collections of sculpture and decorative arts, threw open its doors again in February after more than a decade under refurbishment. The €18.5m project, which was led by HG Merz architects, has resulted in a display of great elegance and exceptional clarity – no mean feat, considering that there are almost 2,200 objects on show here. It is a curatorial triumph, which succeeds in treating both show-stopping and less well-known objects with utmost respect. See Apollo, April.

The Lenbachhaus, Munich

The Lenbachhaus in Munich, with its remarkable historical collection of Blaue Reiter paintings and its expanding holdings of contemporary art, has long needed additional gallery space, as well as improved visitor facilities. An impressive new building by Foster + Partners has provided ingenious solutions, wrapping around the original Lenbach villa to rationalise internal links and augment how the museum relates to its wider urban context. The new galleries boast an innovative lighting system that replicates daylight, and will undoubtedly be much imitated. See Apollo, October.

Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), Marseilles

MuCEM, one of several grand projects opened this year to mark Marseilles’ stint as the European Capital of Culture, yokes the 12th-century Fort Saint-Jean overlooking the old port to a glittering new building designed by Rudy Ricciotti. Clad in an unusual lacy concrete mesh, this glass box gamefully looks out across the water. Inside, the permanent display continues the theme of connection, investigating cultural exchange across the Mediterranean region through a wide range of artworks and cultural ephemera.

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

First opened in 1885, the Rijksmuseum was showing its age when it closed for renovation in 2003. Revived and restyled by Cruz y Ortiz, it now boasts a light-filled atrium, an Asian Pavilion and elegantly renovated galleries. The modern redesign is offset by the restored 19th-century interior decorations, which provide a superb backdrop to the 8000 objects presented in a new chronological hang. The Gallery of Honour, a peerless display of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces culminating in Rembrandt’s The Night Watch in its original dedicated space, remains the jewel in a rather spectacular crown. See Apollo, March.

Winners will be announced in the December issue of Apollo.
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