Milena Berman

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Betsy Thomas

Second Advisor

Maria Sancho-Arroyo


The last two decades have witnessed an explosion in the number of private art spaces worldwide. From Bentonville, Arkansas, to Naoshima, Japan, hundreds of impressive structures built by star architects have been funded by private individuals and corporations to house collections of modern and contemporary art, often in unlikely places. The famously-termed “Bilbao effect” in which a grand museum structure is set up outside of the established art capitals of the world, thus putting the city “on the map” of cultural tourism, has become a widespread trend. The examples vary greatly and range from small private “home museums”
made to showcase a personal collection such as the Hoffmann Collection of Erica Hoffmann in Berlin, to sprawling “art campuses” complete with archives, educational programs, curatorial staff and artist-in-residency programs such as the Walton Museum of Walmart’s Walton family. Georgina Adam who has written many articles and a book on this subject, estimates nearly 400 private museums exist worldwide with 70 percent being founded after 2000 and one fifth being founded during the last five years. Collectors have long since found ways to share their2
collections with the public, in fact most public institutions of the world are born from a private collection in one way or another. Historically, private collections were bequeathed to public museums in the wills of their patrons. The phenomenon of today is distinctly different.