Reasons to travel: 9 new art galleries opening this year

The global art gallery landscape is always growing. ArtsHub takes a look at its latest additions.
aerial picture of art museum in Bali.

While your travel plans may not centre on a bucket-list tick of a new gallery visit this year, this list may just result in a few extra bullet points on that very list.

Art museums are constantly changing, expanding and specialising, which makes for an exciting landscape globally. ArtsHub takes a look at a few art galleries that are scheduled for big unveilings in 2024.

1. Kunstsilo Nordic Art Museum, Kristiansand, Norway

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Image: Courtesy Kunstsilo Nordic Art Museum, design by Mestres Wåge, Mendoza Partida and BAX Studio.

It used to be all the rage to turn disused power stations into art galleries (hey, we are even doing it in Australia). But the new Kunstsilo Nordic Art Museum repurposes another post-industrial building – a 1935 grain silo. Opening 11 May, and at a cost of NKr710 million (AU$103 million), the new art museum and cultural centre is located in the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand, alongside its harbour. With 3251 square metres (35,000 square feet) of exhibit space over three floors, it will have a focus on Nordic modern art, drawing upon the collections of the Southern Norway Art Museum and the Tangen Collection, which is one of the most comprehensive private collections of Nordic modern art to date.

2. Saka Museum, Bali, Indonesia

We all love a trip to Bali – and now we have another excuse! Located on Bali’s southern peninsula (not far from Jimbaran town) is a new museum dedicated to the history of the island, Balinese culture and the principle Tri Hita Karana. It is not surprising that the design, by the Hong Kong firm Napp Studio, takes on a temple-like feel, and uses a lot of natural woods, stone and triple-height windows to capture its serene surroundings. Saka Museum is planned to open early 2024. Currently, only guests of AYANA Resort are allowed to take a preview tour ahead of its public opening.

3. Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Masp) São Paulo, Brazil

You need to expand, but you can grow outwards? It is a predicament often faced by art museums. The Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Masp) in São Paulo, Brazil offers a great solution – dig down. Celebrated for its architecture by the renowned Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) and hovering on robust legs, its new wing proves to be equally signature, with a new underground tunnel linking to a 14-storey tower block across the road. The original 1968 building will be renamed in the architect’s honour, while the new building will be named after her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, the founding director of the institution.

The museum was groaning for a lack of space – only 1% of its collection of 11,000 pieces has room to be shown. The new building increases that to 66%. It has been designed by architect Júlio Neves with Metro Arquitetos Associados to recreate Bo Bardi’s famous glass display stands. It will open in late 2024. The director of Masp is Adriano Pedrosa, who is also curator of the 2024 Venice Biennale – a big year to say the least.

Read: Beyond the pavilion – the other Australian artists at Venice

5. Reinhard Ernst Museum, Wiesbaden, Germany

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Reinhard Ernst Museum. Photo: Klaus Helbig/Frank Marburger, courtesy Museum Reinhard Ernst.

Designed by the firm of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, the new €80 million (AU$132 million) Reinhard Ernst Museum will open later this year. The museum is a custom building to house the 860-piece strong collection of manufacturing giant – Reinhard Ernst – which is largely focused on abstraction (German post-war art, Japanese art, primarily Gutai, and American Abstract Expressionism).

Located near Frankfurt, the Reinhard & Sonja Ernst Foundation was given a 99-year lease on the site by the city of Wiesbaden, to encourage cultural tourism.

6. The Frick Collection, New York, US

While hardly a new art museum, given the scale of its refit, it is a worthy addition. One of New York’s most loved museums on Fifth Avenue, The Frick Collection will reopen after a three-year closure. The extensive refurbishment cost US$290 million (AU$445 million), and it is the first big overhaul in its 90-year history. Selldorf Architects was the design firm charged with the task.

Only last week, The Frick received Community Board approval for a liquor license application to proceed for its forthcoming restaurant and temporary bars (14 locations approved within the new museum). There’s been a lot of confusion and misinformation over the “bars” which, but the development was overwhelmingly approved. The Museum and restaurant will open in late 2024.

An added note on the shifting gallery landscape: The Frick Collection will move out of its temporary home at 945 Madison Avenue, the Marcel Breuer-designed Modernist building that was previously home to the Whitney Museum of American Art, on 3 March in order to prepare for the move. This iconic building will then be taken over by Sotheby’s auction house.

7. Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York, US

Storm King Art Center is the stuff of art pilgrimages – it is on the list of most sculpture-lovers. Located in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, the 200-hectare (500-acre) site has been running for more than 60 years. This year it will unveil a much needed reimagined welcome area, and include improved landscaping by Reed Hilderbrand plus newly commissioned outdoor art. Part of the refurbishment includes a new fabrication workshop, studio and conservation building. Architect Heneghan Peng has been charged with the task.  

Read: The world’s most anticipated museums opening in 2024

8. Hampi Art Labs, Hampi, India

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Image: Hampi Art Labs, courtesy of Hampi Art Labs.

Few Australians would know the southern Indian town of Hampi, but it is an incredible hub for traditional arts and crafts. It is home to Lambani embroidery – that needlework with the addition of mirrored discs. Celebrating these traditions is the new Hampi Art Labs, which opens this month (February). It is aimed at being a cultural destination for tourists and makers alike, to help support and promote the region’s craft industry, with regular exhibitions, residencies and workshops. It also has facilities for printmaking and ceramics. Art patrons Sangita Jindal and her daughter Tarini Jindal Handa are the centre’s founders, via the JSW Foundation.

9. The Museum of Sex, Miami, US

The privately-owned, Museum of Sex Miami, is said to also open its doors this month, after not making its November 2023 launch ahead of Art Basel Miami Beach. Museum founder Daniel Gluck told Artnet News, that the Museum of Sex had issues with the utility company Florida Power and Light. The Museum will open with the exhibition Modern Sex, 100 Years Of Design And Decency, and a second gallery will show a retrospective of Hajime Sorayama’s work. Another space, Super Fun Land, has been designed as an education space, but has been described as ‘more of a theme park-like experience’, with a 180-degree theatre playing a film on the history of sex, and a games room. Gluck is said to be planning to expand the museum concept to Tokyo and London.

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina