Meanwhile, how are the rest faring?

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The Independent Online
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

A radical extension designed by Daniel Libeskind (architect of the dramatic Jewish Museum, Berlin) was announced this summer by Dr Alan Borg, the museum's effective new director, who is currently seeking millennium funding. This demonstrates a controversial, but fresh wave of creative thinking at the V&A. The extension will become a home for a largely unshown collection of 20th-century design, after several years when creativity and curatorial skill were upstaged by marketing executives and the museum was infamously advertised as an ace caff with a rather nice museum attached.

About half the collection remains unseen. A soon to be introduced compulsory admission charge is seen by many as an unwelcome development.

National Portrait Gallery, London

Imaginative new ground-floor galleries opened recently, with revamped upper galleries (by the likeable architect Piers Gough) opening this weekend. Charles Saumarez-Smith, the NPG's lively new director, has boosted visitor figures significantly, transforming an old-maidish gallery in the shadow of the National Gallery next door into an international force.

A carefully thought-through extension, with a rooftop restaurant, by architects Dixon-Jones is on the cards.

Tate Gallery/Tate Gallery of Modern Art, London

Nicholas Serota's empire has been extended from Pimlico to Liverpool and St Ives in recent years, with a Tate for East Anglia (Norwich) planned.

In London, the former Bankside Power Station opposite St Paul's Cathedral is being transformed into what promises to be a very refined pounds 106m gallery of 20th-century art, making more room for the Tate's vast collection stored in warehouses at the mother gallery a few miles west, where new extensions are under way.

The opening up of the great sculpture hall has been a major plus. Effectively run. Annual rehangs allow much of the collection in store to be shown on something like a rotating basis. A reasonable idea, much disliked by the critic Brian Sewell.

The Hermitage, St Petersburg

The biggest art gallery in the world is among the most beautiful, but far from the best. This is not a reflection on the magnificent collection, of which a mere 5 per cent is show at any one time, nor on the excellent staff, but on a Russian government cash crisis that means the Hermitage has next to no money for anything and certainly not for the major expansion plans made in the late Seventies. A major restoration and storage centre in the St Petersburg suburbs remains incomplete.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Met is never less than polished and vastly comprehensive, but there are no radical plans for the forseeable future. Latest developments are straightforward - a three-phase renovation of major galleries, beginning with the Greek and Roman collection. The Balfour Court, sponsored by the Balfour family, is the pivot around which the first phase of the new works revolves.

Louvre, Paris

Gets bigger, bolder and more formidable with each decade. IM Pei's glass pyramid announces the vast underground works executed in the Eighties. The Nineties have produced the imperious Richelieu wing. By the turn of the century, the remaining empty wings of the vast Parisian palace will be fully renovated and home to many more works of art. Stupendous, impressive and almost overwhelming.

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