Berlin’s new modern and contemporary art museum is to be built behind the existing Neue Nationalgalerie – the art scene continues to grow. After more than two years of controversy and political debate, the Bundestag’s budget committee has approved €200 million or £158 million for the construction of a new museum for modern art in Berlin, the DPA reports. The plan was confirmed by Swen Schulz who is the SPD political party’s budget expert – on Thursday. The new building is expected to open to the public in 2021.
The confirmation brings an end to years of uncertainty first about whether Berlin would get approval to create its new museum at all, and then regarding who would pay for the creation of the institution itslef. Great debate has also occurred over the eventual location of the new museum.
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation had been campaigning for a new gallery space for many years. The desire to implement plans for a new museum of modern art was spurred by the donation of 150 surrealist master works to the Nationalgalerie by 84-year-old German businessman Heiner Pietzsch. Yet the Neue Nationalgalerie is not particularly big and only allows the museum to show only one third of its collection. Pietzsch’s donation also came with the caveat that the works be placed on permanent display – requiring a new gallery for such a purpose.
The proposed new museum will consist of 14,000-square-meters of space, and is to be constructed behind the existing Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie. The collections of Egidio Marzona and Erich Marx will go on view; as will the existing Nationalgalerie collection and Pietzsch’s donation of works.
The Neue Nationalgalerie will then be renovated by British architect David Chipperfield beginning in 2015, the renovations of the museum are expected to last three years.
Minister Monika Grütters Germany’s Culture Minister called approval of funds a “huge success” for Berlin’s museums and cultural scene.
hHermann Parzinere who is the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, explained that the new building would greatly expand the museum’s possibilities for the future of exhibiting. He described the new building as a “museum island for modern art.”