This evening Frans Hals Museum | De Hallen Haarlem Director Ann Demeester told Haarlem City Council of plans for the new Frans Hals Museum. On 18 January 2018 the Frans Hals Museum and De Hallen Haarlem, which are already one organization behind the scenes, will become one museum under the name Frans Hals Museum: one museum at two locations with a renewed and distinctive programme of exhibitions in which old and contemporary art will also be shown side by side. The second phase of the renewal in 2019 includes a drastic makeover at both locations. 'The new Frans Hals Museum thinks like an artist, transcending the boundaries of time and space. At the same time, it is striking, sophisticated and welcoming for visitors and local residents alike,’ says Ann Demeester.
The museum will be supported in the implementation of its plans by two internationally renowned organizations. A new house style will be developed in cooperation with the creative communications agency KesselsKramer. KesselsKramer, highly praised for its own imaginative and eye-catching style, has become well known for communication campaigns for such clients as Ben, I Amsterdam, Belastingdienst and NEMO. The award-winning New York-based architects SO-IL, founded by Haarlem-born Florian Idenburg, has already made a preliminary design for the renovation of the locations. Idenburg was recently responsible for the renowned design of the New Museum of Contemporary Art New York, and SO-IL’s latest achievements include the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis, California.
Why new exhibition programming?
The museum wants to be and remain relevant, interesting and distinctive for its visitors and is therefore scheduling innovative exhibitions, starting in 2018, that will be truly thought-provoking and exciting. The starting point will be trans-historic – the connectedness of art through the centuries. How does today’s art relate to the art of long ago? Artworks from different periods will be exhibited together when they can be, and separately where necessary. The automatic assumption that old art is shown in the Groot Heiligland location and contemporary works in Grote Markt will be abandoned. Exhibitions featuring both new and old art will be staged in both places.
Why a new identity?
The Frans Hals Museum is a strong brand, but the current image associated with it is classical and a little stuffy. The fusion creates a recognizable new brand and opens the door to exciting new options. The new Frans Hals Museum catalyzes new associations and interpretations between ‘old’ and ‘new’ art as well as between different, apparently contradictory, points of view. The new identity, developed in collaboration with KesselsKramer, positions the museum as the place where contrasts meet: today and yesterday, paint and pixels, young and old, east and west, serious and funny, praise and criticism, Haarlem and the world.
The planned Frans Hals Knowledge Centre will make the museum the world’s leading location for carrying out research, assimilating knowledge and fostering expertise about the work of Frans Hals.
The buildings need renovation to make them more visitor friendly, to do greater justice to the art and to solve logistical problems. The historical qualities of both buildings are the starting point for the design. The transition to one recognizable, accessible and attractive museum will be made together with the New York SO-IL, which was founded by Florian Idenburg and his wife, Jing Liu. They want to renovate the museum as a collection of rooms.
The museum wants to have a low threshold and be accessible to national and international visitors and residents of Haarlem. It wants to achieve this by having the doors of both buildings open as much as possible and to make the public spaces, for example the museum café and the museum shop, more attractive to people of all ages. Art salons will be created at both locations where visitors can enjoy art free of charge while having a cup of coffee. The Frans Hals Museum’s courtyard will be an enjoyable spot to linger amidst art and planting, and in Grote Markt the museum is creating a small-scale sculpture garden on the roof terrace – a unique vantage point with views over Haarlem’s beautiful historical city centre.