Advisory group recommends institution to replace proposal for four museums A new cultural institution focusing on visual culture known as 'M+' (Museum Plus) has been recommended to replace an initial proposal for four museums in the West Kowloon Cultural District. The project's museum advisory group yesterday announced their recommendations for the West Kowloon Cultural District's consultative committee on the core arts and cultural facilities. The group proposed that M+ have various functions including building and preserving a collection, holding art exhibitions, conducting cultural education and research and running a publishing arm. But a timetable or financial plans have yet to be drawn up for establishing the museum. M+ would focus on 20th- and 21st-century visual culture in four categories: design, moving image, popular culture and visual arts, including ink art. Earlier invitations for proposals had suggested a cluster of four museums with different themes, such as a museum of ink art, which was strongly supported by Alice King Tung Chee-ping, sister of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. The group said that M+ was expected to occupy 125,000 square metres. It would feature an exhibition centre, expected to take up 10,000 square metres on a maximum of two storeys. It is hoped the exhibition centre would be able to support itself financially. Speaking at a news conference yesterday, the advisory group's chairman, Victor Lo Chung-wing, said to make M+ a 'must-go' spot in West Kowloon, the architecture of the institution would be crucial. 'We hope that the architecture will be innovative and we are proposing an international architecture competition for the building of M+,' said Mr Lo. Mr Lo said that 61 per cent of the themes suggested fell into the visual culture category. Lo Kai-yin, one of the members of the group, said that the four categories chosen were suitable for Hong Kong's cultural development. 'Visual art will be the direction of the development of art and, while ink art is an important characteristic of [traditional] Chinese art, it is undergoing modern development,' said Mr Lo. Fellow member Nansun Shi explained that having the moving image as one of the themes was a natural fit for Hong Kong since the city has a long history of film. 'Apart from film Hong Kong also has a strong heritage of TV production, music video and advertising,' she said. Mr Lo said it was not known how many people M+ would attract, but foreign art centres such as Paris's Pompidou Centre, New York's Museum of Modern Art and London's Tate Modern attracted 3 million to 5 million visitors annually. 'It will probably take a long time for us to reach that figure,' said Mr Lo, 'But according to our research there aren't that many examples of such a centre among our neighbouring countries.'