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Attractions

10 must-visit new museums

From New York and L.A. to Barcelona and Cape Town, here are 10 new museums worth a pilgrimage.

by Maria Milkova

Whether you’re looking for mind-blowing architecture, timeless masterpieces, living history, or groundbreaking performing arts, these 10 new museums should be on your must-visit list for 2017.

1
151 Third Street, San Francisco, Cailfornia

Reopened in May, 2016 after an extensive 3-year renovation, SFMOMA is more impressive than ever, thanks to its expanded collection of modern masters (including luminaries like Matisse, Pollock, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Diego Rivera), California artists, and photography legends like Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus. The notable architecture firm Snøhetta is behind the museum’s arresting new design, spread over 10 floors and incorporating over 45,000 square feet of art-filled free public spaces. Admission for everyone under 18 is free.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
2
99 Gansevoort Street, New York, New York

Designed by star architect Renzo Piano, the new incarnation of the Whitney is located in Manhattan’s ultra-cool Meatpacking district, where it enjoys more space for exhibitions and public programs. Its peerless permanent collection of contemporary American art is spread over 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries, 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and terraces, and an admission-free lobby gallery. Also on offer: a multi-use black box theater for film, video, and performance, a 170-seat theater with stunning views of the Hudson River, a Library Reading Room, a gorgeous museum store, and a ground-floor restaurant and a top-floor cafe by famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. Admission for adults: $22 (online/in advance); $25 (at the door)

Whitney Museum of American Art
3
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris

Part art museum and part cultural center, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is a Frank Gehry-designed institution designed to promote modern art in all its forms. Besides its permanent collection of expressionist and contemplative works and Chinese art, the Fondation hosts music and dance performances, along with temporary exhibitions focusing on themes like African art, architecture, and multimedia installations. The in-house restaurant features a modern French menu by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Louis Nomicos. General admission is 16 euros.

Fondation Louis Vuitton
4
221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California

A new modern art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the Broad is quickly becoming a downtown L.A. institution. The permanent collection encompasses over 2,000 works of postwar and contemporary art, while rotating temporary exhibitions feature artists like Cindy Sherman and Yayoi Kusama. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the 120,000-square-foot museum has two floors of gallery space as well as The Broad Foundation’s lending library, which loans works in its collection to museums around the world. General admission is free.

The Broad
5
Carretera de les Carolines 24, Gràcia, Barcelona

Located in the peaceful neighborhood of Gràcia and dating back to 1883, Casa Vicens is the first house Antonin Gaudí designed. Scheduled to open to the public for the first time in 2017, the structure reveals the origins of Gaudí’s signature, curving, nature-inspired style. Combining multi-colored tiles, Moorish, Japanese, and Indian accents, the house broke with the norms of late 19th-century design and inaugurated a new, revolutionary period in modern architecture.

Casa Vicens
6
National Museum of African American History and Culture
14th St and Constitution Ave NW, Washington D.C.

Following decades of efforts to promote the contributions of African-Americans to American culture, the Smithsonian’s remarkable new museum on the National Mall is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life and history. Interactive exhibitions featuring over 36,000 meticulously curated artifacts encourage visitors to deepen their understanding of African-American culture and to reflect on its past, present, and future. Admission is free, though we recommend booking a timed entry pass to avoid waiting in long lines.

National Museum of African American History and Culture
7
Museum of Tomorrow
Praça Mauá, 1 Centro, Rio de Janeiro

Situated on the waterfront at Pier Maua and designed by neo-futuristic Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Museum of Tomorrow is a science museum for the 21st century. Focusing on sustainability and conviviality and cities of the future, the museum features five main interactive exhibition areas: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow and Now. A museum for ideas more than objects, it has partnerships with leading Brazilian universities and the United Nations, and the museum recruits astronauts, social scientists, and climate experts to lend their perspectives to its exhibitions. Admission is 20 reals (about $6.50)

Museum of Tomorrow
8
Zeitz MoCAA - Museum of Contemporary Art
Scheryn Pavilion, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Spanning over 100,000 square feet on the Cape Town waterfront, the new Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to “collecting, preserving, researching, and exhibiting cutting-edge modern art from Africa and its diaspora.” Artists like Julie Mehretu and Nicholas Hlobo feature in the museum’s permanent collection, and on completion in September 2017, visitors will have access to the Centres for Costume Institute, Photography, and Curatorial Excellence. A 28-room hotel by noted designer Liz Biden will be located above the museum, featuring beautiful views of Table Mountain.

Zeitz MoCAA - Museum of Contemporary Art
9
Faena Forum
3300-3398 Collins Ave, Miami

A striking Miami Beach landmark designed by celebrity architect Rem Koolhaas and the OMA team, the Faena Forum is a museum and performing arts center that showcases groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary work in fields ranging from art and entertainment to business and beyond. Curated by Ximena Caminos, wife of Forum founder Alan Faena, exhibitions celebrate Miami’s diversity and veer away from traditional, two-dimensional art forms. The light-filled space has a 2,900-square-foot amphitheater for live performances, along with multi-use gallery spaces, a retail bazaar, and a public marina and courtyard.  

Faena Forum
10
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

The product of an alliance between the governments of France and the United Arab Emirates, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi will showcase major works from the fields of archaeology, fine arts and decorative arts that emphasize the shared influences and historical connections between different cultures around the globe. Located on Saadiyat, a natural island off the city’s coastline, the museum is the centerpiece of a new cultural district that will also feature the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the dramatic building extends out over the water, combining ultra-modern architecture and influences from the Arab world. World-renowned artists Giuseppe Penone and Jenny Holzer have been commissioned to design works to be installed under the museum’s iconic dome. Note: Opening is scheduled for 2017, though there is no fixed date.

Louvre Abu Dhabi
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