art galleries

art galleries
   Art galleries and museums, particularly after 1980, have formed some of the most exciting and controversial examples of postwar architecture in Britain. They form part of a global burgeoning of architecture commissioned to serve cultural purposes. The reasons for this expansion are complex and diverse, ranging from the changing functions and purposes of these institutions, the democrati-zation of culture, the interest in heritage, tourism and changes in the funding mechanisms designed to support cultural activities. Diane Ghirardo (1996) identifies four types of museum— as shrine, as warehouse, as cultural shopping mall and as spectacle—in addition to other solutions. The Tate Gallery has provided some of the most interesting developments, beginning with the Clore Gallery (1980–5), designed by Stirling Wilford Associates. The decision to decentralize its collections led to the Tate Gallery, Liverpool, (1988) by Stirling Wilford and the Tate Gallery, St Ives, (1991–3) by Evans and Shalev (see Tate(s)). Hertzog and De Meuron’s designs to transform Bankside Power Station into the Museum of Modern Art are now well advanced. Similarly, the Design Museum (1987–9), designed by Conran Roche, forms part of the revitalization of the docklands area of London. The Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery (1988–91), has proved to be one of the most controversial commissions, eliciting condemnation by the Prince of Wales as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’ on the face of a ‘much loved friend’. The winning competition entry by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates witnesses their belief that ambiguity and complexity in architecture are best suited to the contemporary context. Other extensions to museums and art galleries include the Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy, (1989–91) by Foster Associates, and the Entertainment Pavilion, Hayward Gallery, (1994) by Allies and Morrison. The Natural History Museum boasts the Ecology Gallery (1991) by Ian Ritchie, the Dinosaur Gallery (1992) by Heron Associates, and Imagination and Wonders at the National History Museum (1993), by David Chipperfield. There have also been developments in the provinces, notably the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, designed by BDP in 1986, The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (1993) designed by Jeremy Dixon in association with BDP, The Pump House: People’s History Museum, Manchester (1993) by OMI, and the Broadfield House Glass Museum, Glass Pavilion, Kingswinford, (1994) by Design Antenna.
   See also: St Ives; Tate(s)
   Further reading
    Ghirardo, D. (1996) Architecture After Modernism, London: Thames & Hudson.
    Papadakis, A.C. (1991) New Museology, An Art and Design Profile, London: Academy Editions.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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