ARoS - HISTORY
7 April 2004 was the official opening of ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in the presence, among other dignitaries, of the museum’s Patron Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II. 8 April the new 17,700 square metre building, situated in central Århus and costing DKK 306m opened its doors to the public. The event marked a new era in the museum’s almost 150-year history: the provincial art museum with high ambitions now emerged as a national museum with international ambitions. To highlight its new profile, Aarhus Kunstmuseum added ARoS to its name.
With thousands of square metres spanning ten levels the museum now has ample space to showcase its extensive collection of 1100 paintings, 400 sculptures and installations, 200 art videos and over 7,000 drawings, photos and graphics: a collection that ahead of the inauguration was enhanced by the addition of works by international artists such as Bill Viola, Tony Oursler, Carsten Höller, Miwa Yanagi and James Turrell. In large measure, a donation of DKK 40m by New Carlsberg Foundation over a ten-year period enabled the purchase of these works.
The new art museum contains three large galleries of just under 1,100 square metres each for permanent exhibitions allowing visitors the opportunity to view a broad spectrum of works from the museum’s own collection. In addition, recent acquisitions of international light and video works are displayed in the basement level of the museum in a special exhibition gallery called 'The 9 Spaces.'
Lastly, the museum has two further galleries at its disposal: the dedicated special exhibitions gallery commanding 1,100 square metres and the West Gallery with 350 square metres.
ARoS’ striking architecture is the creation of Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen. The Århus-based practice won the 1997 competition for the design of the new Aarhus Kunstmuseum from a field of some 109 architectural firms from around the world.
The building is cube-shaped, 43 metres tall and 54 by 54 metres wide. It is divided by a curved "museum street", to which the public has access without an admission fee. A spiral staircase accentuates the mid-point of the "street" and, upon payment of an entrance fee, visitors gain full access to all of the museum's galleries and facilities.
Besides its regular galleries, ARoS contains a Junior Museum for children: an exciting experiential zone for children to learn about art in a hands-on way.
With the opening of ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in the heart of Århus, the museum now occupies its third building. After modest beginnings in a loft room in the newly built Town Hall, Aarhus Kunstmuseum took possession of its first purposely constructed building in 1877. That building remained the museum’s home until the move to its second building in Vennelystparken in 1967.