Widely Reviewed: The New Museum’s New Building and “Unmonumental"

2 12 2007


11.30.07 /The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977 by the late Marcia Tucker, has finally “put down roots,” writes Roberta Smith in the New York Times, in its first built-from-scratch, freestanding home, which opens tomorrow. “Its new building is a stack of neutral, elegantly off-register, no-frills white cubes not only inside, but outside too. It’s great truth in advertising,” Smith writes. Paul Goldberger, writing in the New Yorker, viewed the building in the context of the rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side neighborhood it inhabits: “[Architects Kazuyo] Sejima and [Ryue] Nishizawa have designed a building that is just right for this moment of the Bowery’s existence. [They] have a way of combining intensity with understatement.” Several writers, including the New York Sun’s James Gardner, have noticed its formal similarity with Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum. Gardner nonetheless compares the building with Yoshio Taniguishi’s 2004 fastidiously “invisible” building for the Museum of Modern Art and notes that in its details the New Museum “ultimately disappoints.” Gardner’s is a rare voice of dissent: Writing on Time magazine’s website, Richard Lacayo describes the building as “serviceable and unfussy on the inside, but with enough edge and panache on the outside to hold your attention.” Another New York Times piece discusses the building in the context of neighborhood real estate; finally, the paper’s architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff presents a multimedia overview of the building.

The museum’s inaugural exhibition in its new venue, “Unmonumental,” has also been discussed. Earlier this week, Artnet published an interview with New Museum director of special exhibitions Massimiliano Gioni, and Artinfo published one with museum director Lisa Phillips. Smith’s New York Times piece, meanwhile, describes the exhibition thus: “While visually messy, way too hip, and a tad monotonous, the show is a gauntlet thrown down to other New York museums regarding contemporary art. It says: Get your nerve on. Take a stand.”

Read news in the artforum

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Photo: ElPaís.com


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