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PR- 435-07
November 30, 2007


New facility is the first art museum to be built in Lower Manhattan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled a new facility for the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. The new building is the centerpiece of the museum’s $64 million capital campaign, which covers construction project costs and includes a significant expansion of the institution’s endowment.  The Mayor was joined by First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris; Cultural Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Kate D. Levin; Councilman Dominick M. Recchia Jr.; Councilmember Alan J. Gerson; Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chair Avi Schick; New Museum Director Lisa Phillips, and President of the Board of Trustees Saul Dennison.
“The new New Museum will do what artists and arts organizations do for New York City everyday – embody our aspirations, enliven our neighborhoods, and make New York City the place so many of us want to live, work and play,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This new facility is a brilliant work of contemporary art itself that will draw visitors from around the corner and around the world, and provide a new focal point for art lovers everywhere.”
“The New Museum has been a curatorial pioneer since its inception in 1977, showcasing and promoting the work of contemporary visual artists working in every medium,” said Commissioner Levin. “We are proud to support the Museum and applaud its leadership as they continue their pioneering legacy with this new home on the Bowery.  This will be a spectacular new addition to our cultural landscape that will also help to revitalize the neighborhood.”

The City, through the Department of Cultural Affairs, in conjunction with the City Council, invested $6.5 million in the seven-story, 60,000 square foot facility, a striking metal mesh-clad stack of boxes shifted off axis in a dynamic composition designed by Tokyo-based architects Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA.  The building features column-free exhibition spaces, a 182-seat theater, a lobby bookstore, expanded classrooms, an education center, a café and rooftop terraces facing south and east over the cityscape. 

The unveiling marks the institution’s 30th anniversary, and represents the first time in the organization’s history that it has occupied its own freestanding space. This milestone will also be celebrated with 30 hours of continuous free admission to the public sponsored by Target.  Beginning tomorrow, the public will be able to view the inaugural exhibition, “Unmonumental,” an international survey of one hundred objects by thirty artists, exploring techniques of collage and assemblage in sculpture, collage, sound and new media.

“This is a singular moment in the history of the New Museum,” said Lisa Phillips.  “The institution is transformed. We have both a breathtaking new building that is now completely paid for and a solid endowment to help us continue to pursue our mission to bring new art and new ideas to an ever widening audience. The City of New York has been an ideal partner in this project, and has been instrumental in helping us realize our vision for a new home that contributes to New York’s cultural and economic vitality, and architectural landscape.” 

 “The new New Museum is a testament to the passion that exists in New York City and around the world for new art and new ideas, shared with the public,” said Saul Dennison, “and the result of terrific collaboration with the City of New York and an array of partners and supporters in New York and internationally. With our new building, which has more than twice the exhibition space of our old facility and features that will allow us to be as daring and bold as we have always been, the New Museum looks forward to greeting a greatly expanded public audience and continuing the dynamic, meaningful, and ultimately essential dialogue that contemporary art invites.”
The New Museum of Contemporary Art is the only museum in New York City devoted exclusively to contemporary art, and is committed to bringing the work of under-recognized artists to the fore.  It boasts a proud history of being among the first to exhibit work by important figures in the art world like William Kentridge, Paul McCarthy and Andrea Zittel before they received widespread recognition. The Museum attracts approximately 100,000 visitors annually, and this new building is expected to draw over 350,000 visitors in its inaugural year.  Out-of-town visitors to the museum are expected to pump more than $185 million into the local economy annually.  The museum has also expanded its staff, from 34 in 2006, to 102 employees today.  More than 300 people were employed by contractors in building the new $48.3 million New Museum.  Seven new galleries have opened in the immediate area surrounding the museum in the past two years, creating a destination cultural district.


Stu Loeser/John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958


Kate de Rosset/Teresa Gonzalez (DCA)   (Department of Cultural Affairs)
(212) 513-9323

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