Hong Kong Seeks to Set the Standard for Asian Museums

Leading the way in establishing Hong Kong's ambitious new $2.8 cultural district is the M+ Museum, which, at more than twice the size of the Tate Modern, intends to be Hong Kong’s answer to the Centre Pompidou or the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
August 9, 2012, 7am PDT | Emily Williams
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Former director of London's Tate Modern, Lars Nittve is now the executive director of Hong Kong's new contemporary museum M+, also known as the Museum of Visual Culture, which is set to open in 2017. The museum is a labor of love for Nittve as he seeks to shed light on the vibrant but largely unseen works by contemporary Chinese artists. Nittve wants M+ to "raise the bar for Asian museums" and make China a heavy hitter in the art world, in the same realm as Paris' Centre Pompidou and Bilbao's Guggenheim, reports Frederik Balfour.

The M+ museum, designed by Foster + Partners, received HK$6 billion from the Chinese government for construction and collection purchasing. It is the central piece of the new "government-backed HK$21.6 billion ($2.79 billion)" West Kowloon Cultural District development, "a 40- hectares (98.8 acres) project that will encompass 15 performing- arts venues and a large public park on a piece of reclaimed land across from Hong Kong island."

The collections to be housed in M+ have come in part through a large donations from Swiss businessman Uli Sigg, a respected collector. Nittve believes that M+ will serve as the art hub that Hong Kong so desperately needs, "a place that's trusted by the international art community as something that sets the standard."

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Published on Sunday, August 5, 2012 in Bloomberg
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