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Museum für Moderne Kunst.
Museum für Moderne Kunst.

Fire Erupts at Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Art

Around seventy firefighters battled a blaze that broke out at Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) earlier this afternoon, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. According to a spokesman, the fire ignited in an engine room located above an elevator shaft. A museum employee reported the fire to emergency personnel around noon. While the extent of the damage is still unknown, no injuries have been reported.

Since the museum is currently undergoing a renovation, there were no visitors inside the building, and most of its galleries were empty. Among the works that were rescued are several canvases by On Kawara—a photo of firefighters carrying three of the artist’s monochromatic blue, red, and black date paintings to safety is circulating on social media.

While the cause of the fire, which has been contained, is still under investigation, the fire department suspects it may have been electrical. Museum director Susanne Pfeffer said that the institution was “fortunate in [its] misfortune” since almost all of its artworks are in storage.  

Designed by the postmodern Austrian architect Hans Hollein—the father of Max Hollein, the current director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art—the distinctive, triangular-shaped building, which is described as a “slice of pie” by locals, opened in 1991 and is home to over five thousand works of art. It is unclear whether the museum’s reopening, which was slated for August 16, will be postponed.