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Archigram's Entire Archive Purchased by M+ Museum in Hong Kong

The M+ Museum in Hong Kong, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, has purchased the entire archive of the prominent Archigram group. As reported by the Architect’s Journal, the collection was sold for £1.8 million, having been given the go-ahead by the UK’s Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright.

The sale has not been without controversy, with opposition from the Arts Council’s reviewing committee on the export of works of art and objects of cultural interest. The committee had sought a delay in the sale until a buyer was found who would keep the collection in the UK.

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The 1960s avant-garde group, whose surviving members are Peter Cook, Michael Webb, David Greene, and Dennis Crompton, have been seeking a buyer for the collection for decades. While a deal was agreed in March of 2018, the export was delayed due to the committee view that the collection should remain in the UK, due to its “outstanding significance in relation to architectural history.”

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As described by the Architect’s Journal, only items over 50 years old can be blocked from export, and as Archigram’s collection spans both sides of this limit, the Culture Secretary concluded that it was of overriding importance to keep the collection together, and hence permitted the export to the Hong Kong Museum.

The archive is currently in storage in a facility at Southend on Sea in the UK, following years of international touring, and an extended stay at the University Of Westminster, as part of an initiative to digitize part of the collection.

The M+ Museum of Visual Culture is set to be opened in 2020, designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The scheme will form the centerpiece of the West Kowloon Cultural District, a key venue in creating an interdisciplinary exchange between the visual and performing arts.

Incorporating elements from science fiction, comics, advertising imagery, pop-art, poetry, and collage in their work, Archigram upheld the tenets of neo-futurism, mass-consumerism and contemporary technology in post-war Britain. They rejected the modernist straitjacket by spewing out fantastical designs of buildings and cities which were mobile, adaptable, and far more technologically advanced than anything that the modernists had built to that point.

News via: The Architect’s Journal

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