The museums of contemporary and digital art have gained a lot of prominence because they have improved the way people view and understand the art pieces that are displayed in them. Contemporary museums of art have become more responsive to the changing lifestyles and ideas, which are ever-evolving in the societies in which the art is displayed. The art forms that are displayed in contemporary museums are able to capture the social, political and cultural issues and transformations taking place within a given society.1 The artistry employed in bringing out these themes in the art displayed makes the museums to be spaces where a deeper understanding of issues can be realized.
Digital and contemporary art museums have been able to give artists a platform through which they can display their ideas and influences within the societies they live.2 This has made art to be part of the modernism and social awakening that has been experienced in various societies. The artists can be able to include the relevant issues that exist in the society within the art that they produce. The artistic license has incorporated the use of technology to communicate themes, which are captured by the art forms on display.
Form, function and lighting have a great influence on the structure and organization that the museums of contemporary and digital art adopt for their displays. Form, function and lighting are aspects that are incorporated into the design of museums to make the experience of the visitors to be more rewarding.3
These aspects of museum design make it possible for the visitors to explore the various sections that exist more easily especially in the movement patterns that these museums incorporate in their designs. Visitors are able to relate the symbolism that is captured within the overall structure of the museum to the environment in which the structure exists more easily. The contemporary museums of art have become monumental structures, which intrigue the visitor to explore the various sections that exist in them.
The spatial arrangement and the layout that exist within these museums make the visitors have more options in the way they can view the displays. The arrangement that is used guides the visitors on viewing choices because of the sequences that are adopted to regulate the movements that exist within.4
The contemporary museums of art make it possible for the visitor to relate the external appearance of their structures with the ideas that are conveyed internally helping them to be inspired by what they see. The materials used for construction in contemporary museums serve as pieces, which not only give the structural solidity required but enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure to its visitors.
The lighting that is used within museums of contemporary art has a special significance. Contemporary museums use both natural and artificial lighting to enhance the mood internally and to make sure that the rays beamed within do not erode the quality of the displays.5 The lighting used is meant to richen the viewing perspectives that visitors need to appreciate the various galleries and the art forms that they display.
Museums of contemporary art use lighting that can display the tones and shades of the displays more vividly giving the visitor a good viewing atmosphere within the museum. The intensity and the shades used to communicate the aesthetic attributes an art piece captures helping the visitors to understand the emotions behind it.
The precedents study of the five contemporary museums of art focuses on their design in relation to the form and functions the museum’s design seeks to achieve. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao manages to capture the essence of its surrounding environment properly because of its exterior’s resemblance to a ship. The materials that have been used create an illusion that gives the museum a symbolic connection with the river nearby.
The Mediatheque museum in Sendai, Japan has a design that gives it a transparent outlook and thereby making it to be open to a variety of functions.6 The structure is associated with nature whereby the supporting steel tubes not only serve to give an illusion of a canopy-like building but are the main carriers of light used to illuminate the spaces where art is displayed.
The Abteiberg Museum in Monchengladbach, Germany has managed to capture the striking aspects of the hilly topography into its design. The location near the Abbey Cathedral and its modern design create a linkage between traditionalism and modernity in the area. The Judisches Museum in Berlin Germany is a structure that has captured the essence of the Jewish race in Germany.7
The museum is emblematic and shows Jewish cultural heritage but still manages to create a linkage between German and Jewish societies through the underground entrance that is accessible from the Berlin Museum. The Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal is close to a park, which gives the visitors a good atmosphere as they explore the museum.
Museums of contemporary and digital art have continued to focus on issues that hold relevance in modern society and how people in such societies view these issues. Therefore, these museums provide artists with spaces in which they can make a mark on society through the themes and ideas they portray within their art pieces. Contemporary museums have become hallmarks of cultural symbolism in the areas that they exist.
They make it possible for artists to explore new directions and dynamic ideas that can create a transformation within society.8 These museums display art forms, which not only enlighten the visitors that view them but define the identity of the people living within that particular society. The creativity that exists within makes it easy for the visitors to interpret complex ideas easily. The materials used in the structural design of these museums make it possible to improve the experience of the people who visit them.
Form, functions and lighting have had a marked influence on the way museums of contemporary art are organized and arranged. The arrangement of objects and the layout used internally for these museums to a large degree influence the way visitors are likely to explore the exhibited art forms. The museum design makes it possible to capture the essence of the art exhibits in terms of the spatial arrangement that is used. The impression created by both the internal and external structure of a museum makes it easy to capture the essence of the collective art forms that are on display in different sections.9
The lighting schemes that are used in these museums make it easy to illuminate the different sections of the museum thereby giving the user a better experience. The intensity, distribution and movement of light in a museum makes it easy for themes of the exhibits to come out more vividly within the spaces they are displayed.
The precedent studies focusing on the five museums highlight the influence these museums have within the locations that they are constructed. The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum has a shining external volume, which has a gold or silver like outlook depending on the weather. The impression has given the museum the symbol of a structure in which constant renewal takes place. The Mediatheque museum in Sendai has various steel tube structures, which act as support for the structure itself and serve as the channels through which light is conveyed to different sections of the museum.
The Abteiberg museum on Monchengladbach represents a stunning replica of its landscape through its winding terrace structure making it fit within its surroundings properly.10 The Judisches museum serves as an emblem for Jewish existence in Germany. The museum’s design speaks of serious themes of cultural heritage that German Jews have to deal with in the modern world. The Serralves Museum in Porto gives the user a chance to absorb the beauty of its natural environment before exploring the displays that are showcased.
Alexander, EP & M Alexander, Museums in motion: introduction to the history and of museums, Altamira Press, Lanham, 2008.
Davies, D, ‘The museum of the third kind’, Art in America, vol. 93, no. 6, 2005, pp. 75- 77.
Fenner, D, Art in context: understanding aesthetic value, Ohio University Press, Athens, 2008.
Forty, A, Words and buildings: a vocabulary of modern architecture, Thamnes & Hudson, London, 2000.
Jodidio, P, Architecture: art, Verlag, Munich, 2005.
Mack, G, Art museums into the 21st century, Birkhauser, Basel, 1999.
- D Davies, ‘The museum of the third kind’, Art in America, vol. 93, no. 6, 2005, pp. 75-77.
- ibid., pp. 78-81.
- P Jodidio, Architecture: art, Verlag, Munich, 2005, p. 73.
- ibid., p. 76.
- ibid., p. 81.
- D Fenner, Art in context: understanding aesthetic value, Ohio University Press, Athens, 2008, pp. 67-69.
- ibid., pp. 73-74.
- G Mack, Art museums into the 21st century, Birkhauser, Basel, 1999, p. 28.
- A Forty, Words and buildings: a vocabulary of modern architecture, Thamnes & Hudson, London, 2000, pp. 152-154.
- EP Alexander & M Alexander, Museums in motion: introduction to the history and of museums, Altamira Press, Lanham, 2008, pp. 83-92.