ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
History and museums
The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum is an art museum in Aarhus, Denmark. The museum was established in 1859 and is the oldest public art museum in Denmark outside of Copenhagen. On 8 April 2004, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum opened with exhibitions in a brand new modern building, 10 storeys tall with a total floor area of 17,000 m² and designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. Today ARoS is one of the largest art museums in northern Europe.
ARoS features a shop, café and restaurant. The architectural vision of the museum was completed in 2011, with the addition of the circular skywalk Your rainbow panorama by Ólafur Elíasson. The installation has helped boost the museum's attendance, making it the second most visited museum in Denmark, just behind the well-known Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk.
ARoS has a large art collection with works from the Golden Age until today. Works from the collection exhibited in changing exhibitions. Alongside the museum features special exhibition of Danish and international artists such as Ólafur Elíasson, Bjørn Nørgaard, Ingvar Cronhammar, architect Frank Gehry, Paul McCarthy, Robert Rauschenberg, Michael Kvium, H.C. Andersen, Bill Viola and Wim Wenders. The first of these exhibitions presented a series of main works by pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. As many other modern art galleries and museums ARoS also plays great tribute to architects and their works having hosted several architecture themed exhibitions.
Located in the basement is The 9 Spaces, a gallery with installation art from artist like James Turrell, Shirin Neshat and Olafur Eliasson. The number 9 refers to Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and the 9 circles of hell. The rooms are painted black to contrast with the bright white exterior. The roof terrace substitutes for the divine light your enter from hell. This way the whole museum is part of the travel from hell to heaven. This movement emphasised by the grand spiral staircase in the main 'museum streetscape'. The roof of the museum is dominated by the installation Your rainbow panorama by Ólafur Elíasson. This circular skywalk has windows in the colors of the rainbow thereby showing the panorama of Aarhus in different colors depending on location of the viewer. The installation cost DKK million 60 ($ 10.7 million) to construct and was sponsored by the Realdania foundation. It was inaugurated on May 28, 2011. A second section, a glass lounge that guides visitors from the main museum building to Your rainbow panorama and houses another site-specific work opened in 2013.
The museum was established in 1859 and is the oldest public art museum in Denmark outside of Copenhagen. The art collecting activities was initiated some years earlier in 1847 by the local art association of Århus Kunstforening af 1847 and the first public exhibition was presented on the 6. January 1859 in Aarhus' old Town Hall, located at the Cathedral, now housing the Women's Museum. The present building next to the Concert Halls is the fourth locality of the art museum and it opened here in 2004. On the 6. January 2009, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum celebrated its 150 year anniversary with a jubilar exhibition, displaying the same works as the very first exhibition in 1859, amongst others.
In the fall of 2014, ARoS announced plans for an expansion with a new underground gallery and a new big installation to be made by American artist James Turrell. The project has the working title "The Next Level" and is planned to open in 2017 when Aarhus becomes European Capital of Culture.
The name ARoS refers to the Old Danish name of the city Aarhus, Áros, while the capitalized letters of the name hint at the Latin word for art, namely ars.
In 2010, before Eliasson’s piece opened, ARoS received 221,744 visitors. Two years later, more than 551,000 visitors came to the museum.