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Groninger Museum

The Groninger Museum on the Verbindingskanaal
Established 1894
New building: 1994
Location Groningen, The Netherlands
Type modern art
contemporary art
De Ploeg
Werkman Archive
Ceramic of Asia
Director Patty Wageman
Public transit access Central station, Groningen
Website www.groningermuseum.nl

The Groninger Museum is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands.

Background

Although not as well known as other Dutch institutions of fine art, the Groninger Museum was founded in 1894. The opening of its new building in 1994 caused a sensation and it has since established a reputation of being among the finest museums in the nation.

The radically modernist structures forming the Groninger Museum stand in a canal opposite a railway station consist of three main pavilions: a silver cylindrical building designed by Philippe Starck, a yellow tower by Alessandro Mendini, and a pale blue deconstructivist space by Coop Himmelb(l)au. A bridge that connects the museum to the train station is part of a cycling and walking path to the central city.

The architecture's futuristic and colourful style echos the Italian designs of the Memphis Group. Mendini, a former member of the firm who is noted for his furniture and industrial designs, was asked by museum director Frans Haks in 1987 to conceive the new museum. Haks wanted something extravagant and insisted on non-architects to create the conceptual studies. American artist Frank Stella was originally approached to design one of the pavilions, however, his plan turned-out to be too expensive because he wanted his structure completely built out of Teflon. The municipality then invited Coop Himmelb(l)au to replace him for the commission.

The museum was mainly paid for by Gasunie, the local natural gas utility. The company was celebrating its 25th anniversary and wanted to give the city of Groningen a present. Haks, wanting to move out his of the old and insufficient exhibition space, suggested a new museum building. Gasunie agreed to Hak's proposal and granted 25 million guilders for the project.

Alderman Ypke Gietema, a strong proponent of the new museum, was responsible for siting the museum at its present location despite acrimonious objections. During site preparation, protesters managed to halt construction in high court for one year. Citizen objections centered on the controversial design, fearing their homes would not sell with such a peculiar and eccentric structure nearby. Despite controversy, building resumed in 1992 and it was completed in 1994. Local residents had to get used to the shapes and colours of the building, but it soon became a popular success.

The Groninger Museum is the home to various expositions of local, national, and international works of art, most of them modern and abstract. Some have provoked controversy, like the photo exhibition of Andres Serrano, but others are more main stream, such as the exhibition of the works by Ilya Repin, the "Russian Rembrandt."

Exhibitions

Exhibition space designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au.

2009

2008

  • Russian Legends, Folk Tales and Fairy Tales
  • The circle around Kirchner. Expressionismus aus den Bergen
  • Ancient Bronzes: Masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum
  • Go China! Assen - Groningen

2007

2006

2002

External links


Coordinates: 53°12′43″N 6°33′56″E / 53.21194°N 6.56556°E / 53.21194; 6.56556

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