M+, one of the world’s largest museums devoted exclusively to modern Asian visual arts, opened in Hong Kong last month. The inverted T-shaped facility, whose name means “museum plus”, would have cost well over $760 million.
The 700,000 square foot building, designed by world-renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, features more than 6,400 works and 183,000 square feet of exhibition space divided into 33 galleries. There are also three cinemas, a media library, a learning center and a roof garden overlooking Victoria Harbour. At the top of the building is a tower made up of 423,000 glazed terracotta tiles with one of the largest multimedia screens in the world, which displays M+ content. The tower houses the museum’s offices, a research center and three restaurants.
“Our vision for M+ is to build a learning community that encourages empathy, respect and multiple perspectives, and creates an active visual culture that connects people, objects and spaces,” says Suhanya Raffel, Director of Museum.
Unfortunately, M+ is already under fire for censorship because it decided not to exhibit a work by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. The artwork, part of “Study of Perspective: Tian’anmen (1997),” depicts Ai raising his middle finger in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where on June 4, 1989, the People’s Liberation Army suppressed protesters pro-democracy and killed hundreds if not thousands of people. Pro-Beijing politicians have said Ai’s work “spreads hatred against China” and may violate the city’s sweeping national security law. Weiwei criticized the museum’s decision to censor his work. M+ insists that it is simply acting within the law.