7 exciting museums opening in 2017 you never want to miss

People love museums. Don’t believe us? Just try and snap a pic of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, or gaze up at the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. And while there’s a reason people return to the classics again and again, these are the museum openings we’re adding to our list in 2017.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

After a five-year delay, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open its doors to the public on November 11. When unveiled, the Jean Nouvel-designed, Gulf iteration of the iconic Paris museum will feature 23 permanent galleries, more than 600 exhibits, and will have cost at least$653,470,224. As is to be expected for the opening of the world’s first foreign Louvre branch, the artwork will be some of the best in the Middle East—and perhaps the world: According to CNN, in its opening year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase 300 artworks from 13 key French institutions, including Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferroniere, Claude Monet’s Saint-Lazare, and Henri Matisse’s Still Life With Magnolia. Its location on the western tip of Saadiyat Island won’t be monopolized for long, though: A Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum and the Zayed National Museum are coming soon.


Urban Nation

Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany

Berlin just keeps getting better. Unofficially known as the most “tagged” city in Europe, the UNESCO City of Design is already home to the world’s longest open-air gallery and a barrage of mind-blowing murals. On September 16, the German capital will add another accolade to its name, when it opens the world’s biggest museum devoted entirely to street art: the Museum for Urban Contemporary Art. Set in Berlin’s Schöneberg neighborhood, the five-story building of graffiti, paste-ups, and towering acrylic designs will feature original pieces from 100 artists including Shepard Fairey, 1010, and Evol. Outdoors, some 30 artists will cover the surrounding train tracks with eye-catching installations, and the museum’s facade will be wrapped in 8,000-square-foot murals created on transportable panels that can be rotated and archived. If that isn’t enough to convince you, the museum will even have a floating walkway so you can marvel at the art up-close. Oh, and you can see it all for free. What’s German for “add this to your bucket list, like, now”?

Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Marrakech, Morocco

Famed French designer Yves Saint Laurent gets not one, but two museum openings dedicated to him in October 2017—one in Paris in the historical couture house where Laurent designed and created his work for almost 30 years at 5 Avenue Marceau, and the other in Marrakech, which Laurent visited in 1966 and returned to regularly until his death in 2008. The autumn 2017 openings will coincide with one another, though the Marrakech museum is—dare we say it—the more exciting of the two.

Located on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, not far from Jardin Majorelle, where Laurent’s ashes were spread, the space—which covers some 43,000 square feet—will feature a temporary exhibition space, an auditorium, a bookshop, a café-restaurant with a terrace, a research library, and a 4000-square-foot permanent exhibition space. Designed by French architecture firm Studio KO, the building is just as pretty on the outside as it is sleek on the inside, comprising terra cotta, concrete, and an earthen-colored terrazzo inlaid with pieces of Moroccan stone.

King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

A 300-seat auditorium. A 900-seat performing arts venue for local live productions and international offerings. A four-gallery museum with one hall apiece dedicated to contemporary Saudi art, Saudi identity and heritage, Islamic art and legacy, and the history of the Arabian Peninsula. A separate children’s museum, a “Knowledge” Tower, idea lab, and a library with more than 220,000 books in Arabic and English, with room for another 500,000 books, periodicals, and reports in the digital archives. When it opens in Dhahran in late 2017, the Snøhetta-designed King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture will no doubt be a veritable city within a city.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesia has beautiful beaches, high-end resorts, and a certain je ne sais quoi (or, in Indonesian, if you’d prefer, a certain saya tidak tahu apa). But up until the 43,000-square-foot Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara opens its doors in Jakarta this November, the country won’t have had an international-caliber modern art museum. What a wait it was: Museum MACAN will have a series of galleries, an audiovisual room, an indoor sculpture garden, and, for its inaugural exhibition, will showcase some 90 works from businessman Haryanto Adikoesoemo’s private collection, on long-term loan to the museum. Adikoesoemo, who founded the museum, has amassed more than 800 artworks over the past 25 years, including pieces by Indonesian artists Affandi, Raden Saleh, and Heri Dono, and those from around the world—think Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Anish Kapoor.

Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo, Japan

On October 1, Yayoi Kusama’s eye-popping polka dots and mind-bending mirrored rooms will finally have a permanent home of their own. Housed in a five-story building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the Yayoi Kusama Museum will comprise two floors of the 88 year old’s standalone artwork, a gift shop, a reading room, outdoor space, archives, and a floor dedicated to the celebrated artist’s immersive installations. Considering some past incidents, no word yet on whether selfie-takers will be allowed.


Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa

As previously reported by Traveler, when it opens on September 22, the towering 100,000-square-foot space will be the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art, and the largest museum to open on the continent in more than a century. Few museum openings have generated this much buzz in years, and for good reason: The $38 million institution will house one of the largest collections of contemporary African art in the world, comprising more than 100 galleries over nine floors and filled entirely with pieces created since 2000. More than just an appropriately grandiose cultural complement to Cape Town’s dramatic setting, the MOCAA is a distinctly African answer to New York’s MoMA or London’s Tate. —Eliot Stein

By: Katherine LaGrave

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