See also: The people and galleries behind Chiang Mai's flourishing art scene

The year's most important art opening is about to happen in Chiang Mai. After much hype, Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum ( finally throws open its doors this Jul 4.

Maiiam, which means “brand new,” sits in a converted warehouse in the historical craft district Sankhampaeng, a 30-minute drive east from Chiang Mai center. The design of the 3,000-sq-meter space comes courtesy of architectural firm Allzone, led by Rachaporn Choochey, while inside will be a mix of rotating and permanent exhibitions from the personal collections of Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth (Jim Thomson’s international marketing director). 

The focus is on emerging local artists as well as contemporary masters like the late Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Chatchai Puipia, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Navin Rawanchaikul, Natee Utarit, Vasan Sitthiket, Pinaree Sanpitak, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, the Noughties-poster child for the Relational Aesthetics movement. 
The first exhibition, curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, of the Jim Thompson Art Center, is a retrospective of the renowned director Apichatpong Weerasethakul called “The Serenity of Madness.” Presenting the Chaing Mai-hailing artists career trajectory, the show covers his earliest experimental films through to his most recent works, including 16mm film, digital video, video installations, photography and print. 
The exhibition will also comprise rarely-seen pieces such as scripts, production sketches and making-of videos from films like Mysterious Object At Noon (2000), Blissfully Yours (2002) and the Cannes-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), plus four screening programs of Apichatpong’s 30 newly remastered short films.
After Chiang Mai, the exhibition will travel to Hong Kong and the United States—but not Bangkok. And there will be plenty more to come. Maiiam owner Eric Booth says the cullture of Chiang Mai is perfect for cultivating an art scene with integrity. 
“Chiang Mai’s art scene has grown quickly in recent years but it’s not driven by money like in Singapore, where the government throws hundreds of millions of dollars at collecting Southeast Asian art,” explains Booth. “Here, it’s more organic. People create it by themselves. No one got money from the government to invest and say, ‘Let’s turn Chiang Mai into a cultural city.’ No. All this has happened because of artists, gallery owners, collectors and other people who live here.” 
The official opening of Maiiam takes place this Jul 3 and it will open to the public on Jul 4. The museum opens Wed-Mon 10am-6pm. Admission fee is B150. Stay up-to-date at their
Check out renderings of the museum below.