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Museum Plus Model 201401.JPG
Model of the building design
LocationWest Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong
Coordinates22°18′03″N 114°09′35″E / 22.300958°N 114.159645°E / 22.300958; 114.159645
TypeArt museum
Collection size2,784 (March 2014)[1]
DirectorSuhanya Raffel
CuratorDoryun Chong (Chief Curator), Aric Chen, Stella Fong, Lesley Ma, Tina Pang, Pi Li, Pauline J. Yao
OwnerWest Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Construction Site in December, 2015
Construction Site in February, 2017

M+ is a museum of visual culture currently under construction in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong. It is scheduled to open in 2019.[2]


The mission of the museum, as stated in 2005, is to "focus on 20th and 21st century visual culture, broadly defined, from a Hong Kong perspective and with a global vision. With an open, flexible and forward-looking attitude, M+ aims to inspire, delight, educate and engage the public, to explore diversity and foster creativity."[3]

The museum is presently led by Museum Director Suhanya Raffel, and administered by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, a statutory agency of the Hong Kong government, but a separate subsidiary company will be set up in the future with the aim of ensuring its "independence and efficiency".[4]

The inaugural director, Lars Nittve, explained that the name is simply drawn from the concept of "museum and more", and that his team has sought to move beyond the typical model of the art museum, for example by serving as a showcase of diverse subjects like architecture, film and all manner of moving images including animation and video games.[5]

Building design[edit]

An architectural competition was held to find a building design for the new museum. In late 2012, six finalists were announced.[5] Each team was compensated with $1 million Hong Kong dollars.[3]

The winning design, by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and Farrells, was announced by the WKCDA in June 2013.[6] The building has the basic appearance of an upside-down T. The architects proposed making use of underground "found space", surrounding the Airport Railway tunnels running beneath the site, as a "radical" subterranean exhibition and performance area.[7]

The main horizontal slab housing exhibition spaces is lifted off the ground, permitting pedestrian circulation underneath. Above, a tower houses "public restaurants, lounges and gardens" along with offices and research facilities. An LED lighting display system is integrated into the horizontal louvres on the facade, serving as a display screen for works of art.[8] Construction of the museum building began in 2014. A time capsule containing artwork of local schoolchildren, to be unsealed 100 years hence, was laid on the site in 2015.[9] Plans are to reserve 185,000 square feet of the structure's 700,000 square feet for exhibitions.[10]


Temporary sculpture park

Museum management has sought to engage the public by holding numerous pre-opening activities and exhibitions under the banner of "Mobile M+".

"Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei" was held in 2012. The museum commissioned seven Hong Kong artists to create installation work scattered throughout Yau Ma Tei, an older district of Kowloon near the site of the future museum. The projects – by artists Kwan Sheung-chi, Wong Wai-yin, Leung Mee Ping, Erkka Nissinen, Pak Sheung-chuen, Tsang Kin-Wah and Yu Lik-wai – focused on issues surrounding Hong Kong history and politics.[11]

"Mobile M+: Inflation!" was a display of six giant inflatable sculptures on the vacant lands of the future West Kowloon Cultural District. Artists represented included Jeremy Deller, Paul McCarthy, Tam Wai Ping and Cao Fei. It was presented from 25 April to 9 June 2013 and attracted over 150,000 visitors.[12]

"Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK" is an online exhibition of Hong Kong's neon signage, an iconic feature of the city yet one which the museum noted is "fast disappearing". The website displays curated and commissioned written and visual submissions alongside photographs selected from more than 4,000 crowdsourced submissions. M+ has also acquired, for its permanent collection, some neon signage which had been threatened with destruction.[13]

"Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection" was a showcase of the museum's growing architecture collection, held from 10 January to 9 February 2014 at the ArtisTree gallery in Taikoo Shing. At the time of the exhibition, the architecture collection comprised around 1000 items, of which over 120 were displayed. The event also showcased the future design of the museum building, as well as the other five shortlisted entries from the architectural competition.[14]

"Mobile M+: Live Art", presented in late 2015, was a live art programme and exhibition about past performance art. It was held in various venues around Hong Kong and showcased artists including John Cage, Patty Chang, and several local artists.[15]


The holdings of the museum comprise a variety of types of media, including "sketches, electronic media, installation, objects, painting, photography, architectural models, printed matter, sculpture and time-based intangibles".[16]

On 12 June 2012 Uli Sigg, Swiss collector of reportedly the largest and most comprehensive collection of contemporary Chinese art in the world, announced that he would donate the majority of his holdings to M+.[17] This founding acquisition included 1,463 donated works by 325 artists, "conservatively valued" at $1.3 billion Hong Kong dollars, in addition to a purchase from Sigg of a further 47 works for $177 million.[17][18] From opening until 2021, the M+ Sigg collection will be presented "in isolation", and afterward displayed as part of the overall holdings.[18]

Sigg said that he selected a Hong Kong museum over one in Mainland China because the collection includes works by artists suppressed by the Chinese government, for instance 26 pieces by Ai Weiwei.[19] In the same vein, the museum has acquired almost 100 photos of Liu Heung Shing's "China After Mao" series, including photos of the bloody aftermath of the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[1] Museum director Lars Nittve stated that, despite a warning from pro-Beijing Legislative Councillor Chan Kam-lam "not to mix art and politics", the museum would "not steer away" from politically sensitive issues.[20]

A wide variety of artists, foreign and local, are represented in the developing collection. M+ announced in 2013 that it had acquired the "most comprehensive collection ... by a public institution" of the performance art of New York City-based Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh.[1] The first works by a non-Asian artist in the collection are by South African Candice Breitz. Graffiti works by the late Tsang Tsou Choi, the so-called "King of Kowloon", are among the pieces donated.[20]

In line with the museum's aspirations to present a broad spectrum of artifacts from visual cultural realms outside of traditional visual art forms, the M+ collection also includes a number of architectural works, including a chair by Frank Lloyd Wright, a drawing by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architectural models by Ma Yansong, and an architectural model and visualization works by WOHA. [21]

Excluding the Sigg collection, the museum had acquired 800 works by early 2013, and stated that over 80% were the work of "local artists and designers".[16] By March 2014, the total collection was reported at 2,784 items.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Lau, Joyce (20 March 2014). "Bringing a Flagship of Contemporary Art to Hong Kong". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  2. ^ Chow, Vivienne (13 May 2015). "Opening of M+ museum in cultural district delayed until 2019". South China Morning Post.
  3. ^ a b "Executive Summary" (PDF). M+ Architectural Competition Brief. WDCDA. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  4. ^ Chow, Vivienne (19 July 2014). "Declaration of independence for M+ - but museum won't open until 2018". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Design of M+ museum, west kowloon cultural district hong kong shortlist". Designboom. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  6. ^ "M+ Building Design Team Appointed as WKCDA Charts the Way Forward for Arts Hub". West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  7. ^ Rosenfield, Karissa (28 June 2013). "Herzog & de Meuron Win Competition to Design Hong Kong Museum". ArchDaily. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  8. ^ "M+". Herzog & de Meuron. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  9. ^ "M+ Building Construction Update". West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. 29 Jan 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. ^ Chin Leong, Kathy (18 April 2017). "Amid Delays, Hong Kong's Ambitious Museum Plan Takes Shape". New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  11. ^ Luong, Hillary. "Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei". ArtAsiaPacific. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  12. ^ "150,000 visit Mobile M+: Inflation! The 4th M+ nomadic exhibition ends successfully with fan-fare". West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  13. ^ "About "Mobile M+: NEONSIGNS.HK"". neonsigns.hk. West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  14. ^ Le Dung, Sylvia. "Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection". Macaron Magazine. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Mobile M+: Live Art". West Kowloon Cultural District.
  16. ^ a b "Learn about The Collection". M+. West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  17. ^ a b Rodriguez, Miryam (13 June 2012). "Uli Sigg's gift bolsters Hong Kong's M+ museum vision". ArtAsiaPacific. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  18. ^ a b Nittve, Lars (12 March 2013). "Sigg art collection the foundation for world-class M+ museum". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  19. ^ Chow, Vivienne (13 September 2012). "Uli Sigg's Gift to Hong Kong". Sotheby's Magazine. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  20. ^ a b Chow, Vivienne (4 May 2013). "M+ chief Lars Nittve vows museum won't steer clear of politics". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  21. ^ "M+ Collection". M+. West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Retrieved 6 January 2015.

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