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M+: an enthralling world of contemporary visual culture

Situated in the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture

Image by Kevin Mak; courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Situated in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, was officially opened in November 2021. The M+ Collections are from Hong Kong, as well as other locations in Asia and around the world. They encompass works of various visual art forms, such as visual art, design and architecture and moving image.

Designed by world-renowned architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with TFP Farrells and Arup, the M+ building occupies a total floor area of 65,000 square metres with 33 galleries. The exhibition space itself takes up 17,000 square metres. Most galleries are located on the large podium level on the second floor, offering visitors a fluid, interconnected experience of the exhibitions. The tower creates a visual dialogue with the urban landscape of Hong Kong, with its concrete structures clad in ceramic tiles reflecting the changing conditions of light and weather. The tower facade also features an LED system for the ‘M+ Facade’, which displays the M+ Collections and specially commissioned work, making a distinctive contribution to the city’s vibrant nighttime environment.

M+: an emphasis on local visual culture 

Apart from the eminent architecture, M+ brings major breakthroughs also to the mode of display and the curated collections. While traditional museums focus on exhibiting, collecting, and analysing, M+ focuses on creative interaction by opening the artist square space for public participation and social connection, which defines contemporary art with a new perspective. Curated contents in M+ extend from the traditional visual arts to visual culture, encompassing popular culture, internet culture, and technology-oriented methods of expression. With Hong Kong visual culture being the core of the M+ Collections, architecture sketches and models, graphic designs, industrial goods, album covers, posters, video games, and more are placed alongside artworks to highlight the local distinctiveness.

A record of contemporary arts development

As Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, M+ is home to a large variety of artworks. Until 2021, M+ Collection and the M+ Sigg Collection, which features Chinese contemporary art specifically, make up a total of over 8,000 items, and the number is still rising.

The M+ Collection is showcased all around the halls and exhibition spaces of M+. The museum began gathering artworks for the Collection from artists, designers and architects all over the world in 2012. It has since collected 6522 (up to 2021) cross-boundaries and cross-countries visual culture pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries, including works of design, architecture, moving image, visual art, Hong Kong visual culture, and more.

The Hong Kong: Here and Beyond exhibition features the city’s journey from the post-war era to modern times, showcasing the local visual culture through the arts, architecture, design and moving image. The exhibition will be open until 11 June 2023 — don’t miss it if you’re curious about the visual history of our thriving city!

Originally the Swiss collector Uli Sigg’s private collection, the M+ Sigg Collection was developed in 2012. It’s the world’s most extensive Chinese contemporary art collection, with a total of 1,510 artworks. The collection highlights a wide range of artistic styles and mediums, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance, photography and digital arts, with a special emphasis on Chinese arts from the early 1990s.

Open until 23 July 2023, M+ Sigg Collection: From Revolution to Globalisation shows the social and economic changes after China’s implementation of the Open Door Policy. Through this exhibition, audiences can travel back in time to see how the bold, avant-garde contemporary Chinese artists challenged traditional ideas and art practices using new mediums. The exhibition also sheds light on the changes of contemporary China and China today.

First Special Exhibition: ‘Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now’

To celebrate M+’s first anniversary, the museum is hosting its first special exhibition from November 2022 to take visitors into the world of the ‘Polka Dot Queen’. Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now brings over 200 famous pieces by the Japanese artist to various spaces at M+, including major collections from museums in Asia, Europe and the US, as well as works from several private collections, the M+ Collections and personal collections from the artist herself. Don’t miss the three sets of new works shown for the first time at M+, including Death of Nerves (2022), which is installed in the Lightwell that connects the museum’s ground floor and the basement levels; Dots Obsession—Aspiring to Heaven’s Love (2022), which is presented in The Studio on the B2 level; and two large sculptures titled Pumpkin (2022) in the Main Hall on the ground floor.

The exhibition is split into six themes, which cover a range of multimedia works such as painting, installation, sculptures, sketching, collage and moving image. Open from 12 November 2022 to 14 May 2023, it’s the biggest Kusama retrospective exhibition in Asia besides Japan. Don’t miss it if you’re a fan of the ‘Polka Dot Queen’! 


Making its Asia debut at M+, HUMAN ONE is a kinetic video sculpture by renowned digital artist Beeple. The dynamic work shows the first human born inside the metaverse — a traveller in an astronaut suit who treks forward in an endless, evolving virtual landscape shown in a spinning box-like structure with four LED screens. The journey symbolises human progress and reminds us of the continued blurring of our own digital and physical existence. HUMAN ONE is an ongoing conversation in response to current events and interests over the course of the artist’s life. The exhibition is open from 9 December 2022 to 30 April 2023.

Interactive experiences for visitors

Besides physical exhibits, M+ also offers visitors a range of interactive experiences through its vast collection of moving image works and specially designed spaces. The Mediatheque on the ground floor serves as the contact point between visitors and moving image works in the M+ Collections. The Grand Stair not only connects the ground floor to the second floor, but also serves as a public space for speeches, screenings and other activities. The Cabinet on the second floor is also a site for interactive activities: as a publicly accessible art storage facility, over 200 items in the M+ Collections are dynamically showcased here. Visitors are welcome to use their mobile devices to interact with the collections.

M+ Cinema: a brand new screening venue 

M+ Cinema, a new local film-screening venue, opened its doors officially in June 2022. At this featured facility of the M+ Moving Image Centre, not only can you watch films of a variety of genres — think drama, documentaries, experimental films, recorded arts, classics revive, forgotten works…you can also see special films that match the themes of ongoing exhibitions at M+.

Audiences can enjoy moving stories from all over the world and connect with creators from various arts backgrounds. M+ Cinema comprises three rooms with 180, 60 and 40 seats respectively, all fitted with digital and photographic film screening equipment and sound systems. The films are shown in their original formats, so you can appreciate them in their most original forms. There are also other dedicated spaces within M+ Cinema and M+ Museum that showcases moving images, such as the Grand Stair, M+ Facade and Mediatheque, which bring audiences an all-rounded contemporary visual culture and immersive screening experience.

M+ Facade: a large-scale moving image platform

It’s easy to spot the M+ Facade across the harbour when you look towards the West Kowloon Cultural District from Hong Kong Island. As night falls, the facade comes alive with films shown on its surface. As one of the biggest media walls in the world, the seaside M+ Facade is covered in thousands of LED bulbs, turning it into an innovative curatorial space and an ever-evolving digital platform. Audiences can appreciate the M+ Collections and digital collections from any perspectives, distance and lighting conditions through this facade.

M+ Playscape: zero distance contact with art pieces 

Aside from the exhibition space and the roof garden that affords sweeping views of the Victoria Harbour, the M+ Playscape located in the North Roof Garden is also worth visiting.

M+ Playscape was officially open to the public in April 2022. Here, you’ll find a few benches and play sculptures adapted from California Scenario (1980–1982, Costa Mesa, California, United States) by the famous sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi encourages the audience to freely interact with the sculptures, which include several configurations of Octetra, a Play Pyramid excerpted from a makeshift playground Kodomo no kuni (1965–1966, Yokohama, Japan), and a Play Mound adapted from Piedmont Park’s Playscapes (1975–1976, Atlanta, Georgia, United States). These play structures are designed to stimulate our senses, inspire experiential experimentation, and connect the body and the imagination.

All the works placed in M+ Playscape are semi-permanent installations. You may touch and even climb on them, but do take caution and stay safe! 

Shopping and dining at M+ 

M+ not only boasts a diverse collection of contemporary artworks, but also offers a dynamic shopping and dining experience at the two museum shops, restaurants and the Roof Garden that commands spectacular views of Hong Kong’s skyline. The Other Shop and the M+ Shop both feature a wide collection of delicately crafted creative products that invite you to explore the connection between life and visual culture. The display shelves in The Other Shop ignite curiosity for art in visitors with their vibrant colours while showcasing M+ publications and various creative goods.

Feeling tired from all the walking in the museum? Take a break at CURATOR Creative Café at M+, which serves up drinks and snacks in a relaxing dining setting with the view of the waterfront promenade. More restaurants have also landed at M+, including the members-only and patrons-only M+ Lounge; the Korean restaurant Mosu Hong Kong, which opened in 2022 and offers creative dishes; and ADD+, which provides all-day food and beverage services. There’s something for every palate in the museum. 

With the mission to connect art in Mainland China, the rest of Asia and the world, M+ signifies Hong Kong’s passion and determination to foster the development of contemporary art. In the mood for more culture after your visit? Take a look at our neighbourhood guide to the West Kowloon Cultural District to visit other cultural spots and enjoy beautiful sunset views of the Victoria Harbour.

Useful information

Address:  West Kowloon Cultural District, 38 Museum Drive, Kowloon
Website: www.mplus.org.hk
Ticketing: www.mplus.org.hk/en/get-tickets/


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