Apollo
Apollo Awards 2021

Museum Opening of the Year

The Shortlists Acquisition of the Year | Artist of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year | Exhibition of the Year

12 November 2021

Casa Balla, Rome
Opened June 2021

For nearly 30 years, from 1929 until his death in 1958, Giacomo Balla lived in this apartment on Via Oslavia in Rome. Having been left to his daughters, who lived here until their deaths in the 1990s, the flat – a living laboratory for the Futurist’s work, its walls, furniture and utensils one big canvas – has remained virtually unchanged, and was this year opened to the public for the very first time under the management of MAXXI.

Casa Balla, Rome.

Casa Balla, Rome. Photo: M3Studio; courtesy Fondazione MAXXI; © GIACOMO BALLA, by SIAE 2021

Denver Art Museum
Reopened October 2021

The DAM’s encyclopaedic collections have gained more display space with the refurbishment and expansion of Gio Ponti’s fortress-like Martin Building, which first opened 50 years ago. As well as a Welcome Center, it has gained new conservation studios, and its galleries have been comprehensively rehung to reflect distinct aspects of the DAM’s holdings, from Latin American art to works from Alaska and the north-west coast.

Denver Art Museum.

Denver Art Museum. Photo: Eric Stephenson/Denver Art Museum

Humboldt Forum, Berlin
Opened July 2021

After lengthy delays and a cost of around €644m, this reconstruction of the 18th-century Berlin Palace – pulled down by the Soviets after the Second World War – finally opened over the summer with, among other things, a permanent display of the collections of the former Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, and an exhibition on the troubled history of ivory.

Photo: Giuliani | Von Giese/Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss

Kunsthaus Zürich
Reopened October 2021

After 12 years of planning and construction and some 206m Swiss francs (£163m) spent, David Chipperfield’s extension to the Kunsthaus Zürich has doubled its space for displaying art made since 1960, as well as work by the likes of Monet, Degas and Van Gogh from the collection of Emil Georg Bührle – making it the largest art museum in Switzerland.

Kunsthaus Zürich.

Kunsthaus Zürich. Photo: Juliet Haller/Amt für Städtebau, Zürich

Musée Carnavalet, Paris
Reopened May 2021

Since 1880, and at the instigation of Baron Haussmann, this hôtel particulier in the Marais has housed a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. After an extensive – and expensive (€50m) – five-year redesign, the Carnavalet has reopened with a more coherent chronology and displaying 60 per cent more of its collection, which ranges from a prehistoric canoe to 18th-century interiors to photographs of a burning Notre-Dame in 2019.

Musée Carnavalet, Paris.

Musée Carnavalet, Paris. Photo: © Pierre Antoine

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Reopened August 2021

This West Coast museum approaches its 80th birthday with the completion of a six-year, $50m renovation. As well as updating the building of 1912 to better meet the needs of a modern museum, the project has provided new gallery spaces to display more of its permanent collection – which ranges from Roman and Pre-Columbian antiquities to contemporary art.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

The Shortlists Acquisition of the Year | Artist of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year | Exhibition of the Year