The first enlargement came in 1980 with the inauguration of the «Museum für Gegenwartskunst» on St. Alban-Rheinweg. Now known as Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, it was one of the first museums dedicated to contemporary art in the world. It was created in a joint effort by the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, the Christoph Merian Foundation, and the Canton of Basel-Stadt. Construction was made possible by a generous donation from Maja Sacher-Stehlin, who established the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, as well as her family and the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation. The Christoph Merian Foundation provided the building, erected on land owned by the Canton of Basel-Stadt.
The Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart presents works of contemporary art from the holdings of the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation as well as special exhibitions. Since 2003, the works of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation not currently on display are held at the Schaulager. In addition to changing presentations of treasures from the collections, which are designed to enter into a dialogue with the temporary shows, the museum regularly hosts lectures and panel discussions on issues in contemporary art as well as discussions of selected works and guided tours. Tickets are available in the entrance hall.
The Kunstmuseum Basel consists of three buildings: The Hauptbau, which mainly houses the collection up to Classical Modernism, the Neubau, in which the large special exhibitions have their place, and the Gegenwart, the exhibition house for contemporary art.