I don’t think I’ve ever been as genuinely excited about — and even felt a certain ownership of — a new building the way I am anticipating the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery, which is about to top out and is projected to be finished in late 2007. Maybe it’s because the building will be within walking distance of my apartment. Maybe it’s because, unlike MoMA or the Whitney, the New Museum is truly contemporary and not suffering from an identity crisis. Maybe it’s because it is the first new museum building to be erected downtown in 100 years (designed by Japan-based firm SANAA). Or maybe it’s all of the above. All I know is, when I first visited the museum’s current space in Chelsea, I felt a visceral kinship with the art and the mission, and in the not too distant future, it will become my neighborhood playground. So with that love letter, below is a great photo of SANAA architect Kazuyo Sejima by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue (via Curbed). She’s holding a model of the building in her palm of her hand (I can relate to that feeling).
Of the building’s design, Sejima had this to say: “A stack of boxes is exactly what it is, or rather a series of pearly-gray volumes piled with artful carelessness, each off-center to the one below. Being both blocky and stepped, they intentionally echo the profile of classic Manhattan towers …” Brilliant! A contemporary take on the old-fashioned New York wedding cake building.
Meanwhile, to build support in the neighborhood, The New Museum is sponsoring a lecture series with Cooper Union entitled Hot Button. For info on that, click here.