PLACEText: Shane Johnston

Not only is the New Museum’s new building “new art” it can simply be described as breath-taking. The Building consists of six blocks seemingly haphazardly stacked one atop another are all shifted on a central axis and are honest representations of the space they contain. Clad in an expanded sheet steel mesh, the edifice of the building has an industrial humbleness and a dim vibrancy of texture. At the street level are massive panes of glass separating the viewer from the New Museum store and a cafe area. Moving up, levels 2,3 and 4 of the building are occupied by cavernous gallery spaces with calculated slices of natural light illuminating the interior.

New Museum

Overall, the space has a floating quality. The six blocks could at any moment begin to shift, shadow lines around the perimeter of each room imbue a sensation of disconnect between the floors and walls. Nothing about the interior has an aire of extravagance; instead, a cultured, minimalistic treatment is given to everything from door handles to the fluorescent strip lighting in the corridors and stairways. It is as inviting and as intimidating as a blank piece of paper.

Possibly the best experience the New Museum has to offer is the Skyroom situated on the 7th floor of the building. The elevator opens up on a Van Der Rohe-esqu room flanked on two sides by floor to ceiling glass panels. Two doors open onto a terrace overlooking most of lower Manhattan and the East River with a view that is surprisingly serene.

In the New Museum’s totality, it is a highly successful space that has inserted its ideals and concepts into a sometimes-stagnant New York museum scene. The institution and the creative forces behind it have continually pushed the envelope of contemporary art. Now, with the space and mainstream equity of the New Museums physical manifestation, The New Museum of Contemporary Art can continue to enlighten the public on a much larger scale.

New Museum
Open: 12:00 – 18:00 (Thursday and Friday till 22:00
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Address: 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
Tel: +1 212 219 1222

Text: Shane Johnston
Photos: Courtesy of New Museum

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