The private museums owned by superyacht owners

Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle

Founded by Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and owner of yachts Tatoosh and Octopus, in 2000 the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) occupies a prime location at the base of the Space Needle within the Seattle Center campus. Formerly known as the Experience Music Project, the Frank Gehry-designed building is home to a constantly changing set of pop culture exhibitions covering everything from bands and music to science fiction, video games, superheroes and movies with upcoming exhibits delving into the Marvel universe and the story of legendary band Nirvana. MoPOP also plays host to a series of public programmes including the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival, Pop Conference, Youth Advisory Board and Sound Off! battle of the bands.

Centro Botín, Spain

Image courtesy Centro Botín/Enrico Cano

Located on the waterfront at Santander, the striking Centro Botín is owned and funded by the Fundación Botín, a non-profit organisation founded by Marcelino Botín Sanz de Sautuola and his wife Carmen Yllera of the influential Santander banking family and currently counting Jaime Botín, owner of 65 metre sailing yacht Adix, among its members. Housed in an architectural wonder designed by Renzo Piano, the Centro Botín opened in June 2017 and aims to use art as a path for awakening creativity and exploring news ways to generate social development and wealth. Alongside its permanent collection, which includes pieces by Miroslav Balke, Julie Mehretu and Tacita Dean, the Centro Botín has recently played host to temporary exhibitions featuring artists including Joan Miro, Cristina Iglesias, Gabriel Orozco and Manolo Millares.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, Athens

While not techincally owned by the late Stavros Niarchos, the $660 million needed to build the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens was donated by the billionaire shipping magnate - whose numerous private yachts included the 115 metre Atlantis II and the  infamously cursed sailing yacht Creole. Designed by Renzo Piano with landscaped gardens by Deborah Nevis, the 1.8 million-square-foot SNFCC is home to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, along with a public park, labyrinth, reflection pool and meeting place designed for outdoor concerts and events.

DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens

It will perhaps come as no surprise that Dakis Joannou, owner of 35 metre Guilty which sports one of the coolest yacht paint jobs by artist Jeff Koons, is an avid art collector. Initially founded in Geneva in 1983 and relocated to Athens in 1998, Joannou’s DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art features works by internationally-renowned artists including Tim Noble, Sue Webster, Tauba Auerbach and, of course, Koons. A second space, known as DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse is located on the Greek island of Hydra.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Housed in a former munitions factory in Beijing, the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) was founded by Belgian collectors, and former owners of Alloy sailing yacht Red Dragon, Guy and Myriam Ullens in 2007. One of the first non-profit art centres in the country, the focus of UCCA is on China’s finest contemporary art and features pieces from the Ullens’ private collection as well as hosting exhibitions on artists such as Tan Pei Ming, Zhang Huan and Wang Yin.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Widely respected as one of the top contemporary art collectors in the world, Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani has spent the last two decades amassing a huge collection of fine Arab art. In 2010 he opened the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in a former Qatari school renovated by Jean-Francois Bodin to bring his collection – which features pieces from every Arab country dating from 1840 to the present day – to the masses. The sprawling Al Thani family is one of avid collectors and, as well as having their own exhibition of fine jewellery and objet at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2015, the Al Thani’s have amassed a collection of some of the largest superyachts in the world including 133 metre Al Mirqab, 124 metre Katara and 80 metre Stargate.

Cars of Dreams, Florida

A labour of love for serial superyacht owner John Staluppi, the Cars of Dreams museum in Florida, USA is exactly what it says on the tin – a collection of more than 100 classic vehicles that is paradise for any petrol head. In the boating world Staluppi is famous for his James Bond-themed yachts, which include 61 metre Benetti Diamonds Are Forever, 58 metre Trinity Skyfall and 49 metre Christensen Casino Royale among others, but it is his collection of Buicks, Chevrolets, Dodges and Cadillacs dating as far back as 1926 that make him a motoring star.

Zabludowicz Collection, London, New York & Sarvisalo, Finland

Founded by British art collector Anita Zabludowicz and her Finnish husband Poju, the Zabludowicz Collection is a contemporary art museum and philanthropic venture with a truly global reach. Initially entering the art world by supporting projects at Britain’s Tate museums, the first dedicated Zabludowicz Collection gallery was opened in north London in 2007 with premises in New York and an artist’s residence on the island of Sarvisalo in Finland quickly following. Also the owners of a luxury yacht, the Zabludowicz’s are often to be found hosting on board events and parties at the Venice Biennial and other harbour-side art fairs.

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