KMSKA - Closed. Yet close by.
The Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp has closed the doors to it's building, but not to the collections. The museum is creating and shaping access in different environments and different locations while the museum's building is undergoing renovation.
Collections mobility is very important to KMSKA. The museum sought to use the opportunity created by its redevelopment to have parts of its collection travel to different locations around the world. One such project organised by the museum is an exhibition, Reunion, in Antwerp’s Cathedral of Our Lady, in which eight monumental altarpieces from KMSKA’s collection have been returned to the setting for which they were originally painted.
Elsewhere, important parts of the museum’s 19th and 20th century collections are on display at Queen Fabiola Hall in Antwerp and FeliXart Museum in Drogenbos, near Brussels. In Rockox House, Antwerp – the former residence of burgomaster and arts patron Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640), who was also a friend of Rubens – KMSKA is showing the most important pieces from its Old Masters collection. The setting has been reshaped as a luxurious arts cabinet from the Golden Century for the occasion.
For the last few years, a comprehensive part of KMSKA’s Ensor Collection has been on a worldwide tour
from Japan (Toyota, Matsuyama, Tokyo, Morioka and Okayama) via Denmark (Copenhagen’s Ordrupgaard Museum) and Switzerland (Kunstmuseum Basel) to the USA (the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and The Art Institute of Chicago). A selection of Baroque works has travelled to Holland, Hamburg, Oslo, Mexico City and Mumbai, while some of KMSKA’s oldest artworks, by the Flemish Primitives, have been exhibited in Holland and Norway.
In 2014, no less than 531 pieces travelled to 45 different places, attracting more than 805,000 visitors. In this way, KMSKA has made its collections available to a new audience that might subsequently come to Antwerp.
This project is an example of what effect the Collection Value has on society and how museums shape access to their collections. Further approaches of different kinds can be found in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums"!