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2004 | 45 | 145-153

Article title

THE MUSEUM BUILDING - THE MOST VALUABLE EXHIBIT? (Budynek muzealny - najcenniejszy eksponat?)


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From the beginning of the 1970s the architecture of art museums began to assume increasingly sculptured forms. This tendency met with anxiety among artists who recognised that the forms of the buildings compete with the works displayed within. Museums attempt to embrace new phenomena in art by adapting their spatial shapes. Form is becoming aggressive, and tries to accentuate its presence. The building which originated the turnabout in a quest for the new spatial shape of museum architecture, is the Guggenheim Museum, which already while under construction was regarded as a sui generis exhibit. Much controversy was also generated by the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; in this case, the titanic roofing sheet granted shape resembling the organic sculptures of Antoine Pevsner. Both museums applied a decisive separation of the solid of the edifice from the surrounding environment, a feature present also in the project for Whitney Museum of American Art by Marcel Breuer (1966). I. M. Pei also shapes the majority of his museums with the assistance of simple geometric, concrete forms - the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse (1968) with 'hanging' cubicoid galleries is the best example. The Kunstmuseum in Vaduz also constitutes a heavy monolithic corps, in this case symbolising a veritable art treasury. A total contradiction of the heretofore discussed objects are two recently erected museums: the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the K-Museum in Tokyo, built according to a project by Makoto Sei Watanabe. The former - wiith dynamic interiors full of spatial contrasts, was constructed upon the basis of a town planning analysis of Cincinnati. The form of the Tokyo building refers to the town planning of Tokyo suburbs, but in this instance the spatial structure is to explain the complex, multi-strata structure of the city. Museum architecture is exceptional, and although its fundamental purpose is a presentation of works of art, it too must possess a certain artistic expression. The museum, which for years had been treated as a 'packaging' for works of art, has now itself changed into a special sort of exhibit.







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  • Marek Pabich, address not given, contact the journal editor


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Publication order reference


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