Swiss collector to open her own museum in Arles

Maja Hoffmann wants to hire Frank Gehry to design her gallery



An ambitious new cultural quarter planned for the city of Arles in southern France will include a new photography gallery funded by the Luma Foundation. This was established in 2004 by the Swiss collector Maja Hoffmann, heiress to the Roche pharmaceutical business. The Luma Foundation centre, which will also display film and video works, will cost an estimated E60m ($87.9m) to build.

Ms Hoffmann is in talks with Canadian architect Frank Gehry to design the new building. She says it might also display part of her collection which includes work by Gilbert & George, Fischli & Weiss, Karen Kilimnik, Thomas Hirschhorn, Richard Prince, Tomma Abts, Cy Twombly, Ugo Rondinone, John Baldessari and Tracey Emin.

The new photography centre will be part of a wider redevelopment of 13 hectares of land previously owned by the national French rail company SNCF near the heart of historic Arles.

The publishing house Editions Actes Sud, the National School of Photography, and the Rencontres d’Arles Photographie annual photography festival will be based at the new site. Ms Hoffmann, who grew up in Arles, donates between E200,000 and E300,000 a year to the festival.

She also plans to install a sculpture park around the new centre. “I’d like to show works in the park by artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Doug Aitken,” said Ms Hoffmann.

The city council has not yet confirmed the amount of funding it will provide for the new cultural quarter. According to François Hebel, director of the Arles photography festival, each institution to be housed at the new site must find its own finances from public and private sources. The construction schedule for the development must be confirmed before the next Rencontres d’Arles Photographie event in July when Gehry is set to unveil maquettes of the proposed gallery.

Meanwhile, the Luma Foundation has funded a permanent outdoor installation by Olafur Eliasson (The Parliament of Reality) which is scheduled to open at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies in upstate New York this July.


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