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PR- 373-08
September 23, 2008


New Home Doubles Exhibition Space and Allows for Creation of New Artist Residency Program

City Provided $11.3 Million to Enhance Public Access to Collections and Support Museum as a Link between the Midtown Manhattan and Upper West Side Cultural Corridors

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin and Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) Director Holly Hotchner today cut the ribbon on the museum's new home at Two Columbus Circle. The six-year, $90 million renovation project, made possible with $11.3 million from the City, doubles the museum's exhibition space and allows for the creation of a new artist residency program. The museum, set to open to the public this Saturday, September 27th, includes 14,000 square feet of gallery space, a 155-seat theater, new education facilities and artist workspace visible to the public. Originally built in 1964, the Museum of Arts and Design's new home is poised to draw 500,000 visitors annually. The Mayor was joined at the announcement at Two Columbus Circle by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Council Members Gale A. Brewer, Daniel R. Garodnick, Jessica Lappin and Domenick M. Recchia, Jr., Assembly Members Richard N. Gottfried and Linda B. Rosenthal, and State Senator Thomas K. Duane.

"Today, we celebrate the long-anticipated completion of this extraordinary new home for the Museum of Arts and Design, and in so doing we are also inaugurating New York City's newest cultural hub - Columbus Circle," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Museum's new home at Two Columbus Circle will be a destination for audiences from around the corner and around the world, linking the midtown, Upper West Side and Clinton cultural corridors. Congratulations to Holly Hotchner and the Museum's board, who have helped build a public-private partnership that will generate new audiences for the Museum, and maintain the City's reputation as a cultural capital."
"I have watched this wonderful Museum grow for many years," said Speaker Quinn. "From its modest location in my own district to this elegant and breath-taking new home at the very center of our beloved City, the museum's essential mission to serve its ever growing audience has not changed. I am delighted that we can finally celebrate this day together."

"The Museum of Arts and Design is helping to redefine what belongs in a museum, giving craftsmanship, materials and process a preeminent role," said Commissioner Levin. "This renovation lets the Museum expand its commitment to the public - and the new artist studios in particular will help break down barriers between artists and audiences."
"In this dramatic new space we can fully realize our mission to explore the craftsmanship and creative processes of contemporary artists and designers," said Holly Hotchner, the Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum.  "Our new home allows us to continue our leadership role of working with artists through an expanded program that includes three open artist studios, further distinguishing MAD among museums in New York and nationally. I am grateful to the Administration and to our Board and to the many, many people who supported and fought for this project."

"This is great day for the Museum," said Museum Chairman Jerome A. Chazen. "We are grateful to the City and particularly to the Mayor and his entire Administration, including of course Speaker Quinn and the City Council, Borough President Stringer and Commissioner Kate Levin and the Department of Cultural Affairs, for championing this project and fostering the arts as vehicle for economic development."

Since the project's inception in 2002, the Museum's board of directors has raised more than $90 million from the City and private funders for the renovation project. In 2002, The New York City Economic Development Corporation negotiated the sale of Two Columbus Circle to the Museum. The Museum of Arts and Design is a nonprofit organization that receives support through the Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Development Fund for public and school programs.

"This is an excellent new use for a prominent building with a history as a home for the arts," said EDC President Seth W. Pinsky. "It will add another exciting cultural dimension to the Columbus Circle/Lincoln Center area, draw additional visitors and spur even greater economic activity."

"This is a joyous moment for the City of New York," said Borough President Stringer. "What could be better than a museum named MAD?  I am so proud to be part of this wonderful day and of what we have accomplished together."

Working in collaboration with architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, the Museum of Arts and Design's new 54,000-square-foot building incorporates the Museum into the social and cultural fabric of the newly revived Columbus Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods. The new design illuminates the nearly windowless building and enlivens its 14,000 square feet of gallery space with natural light and views of the City.  For the first time in its history, the Museum boasts a permanent home for its renowned collection of more than 2,000 objects.  The design also includes a new façade that features textured terracotta panels and transparent fritted glass, materials that express the Museum's craft traditions.

The move from its former home at 53rd Street allows the Museum to expand its audience, and to engage visitors, students, families, and artists from New York City and abroad with dynamic programs and exhibitions.  The Museum is committed to fostering public access to its collections through initiatives like Free Thursdays and the MADLab education program, which serves more than ten thousand NYC schoolchildren each year.  The sixth floor will house new education spaces and three open artist-in-residence studios, making the Museum the first multi-disciplinary institution to offer arts education, hands-on art-making, and art making within a single museum experience.

The Museum's exhibitions feature materials and processes that are embraced by practitioners in the fields of craft, art and design, as well as architecture, fashion, interior design, technology, performing arts, and art and design-driven industries. The institution's new name, adopted in 2002, reflects this wider spectrum of interest, as well as the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the Museum's permanent collection and exhibition programming.

The Museum of Art and Design now features the following spaces and visitor services:

  • Dedicated permanent collection galleries
  • Expanded special exhibition gallery space
  • Publicly accessible study collections
  • Resource center and gallery for contemporary jewelry
  • Education center, featuring classrooms for master classes and workshops for students and families
  • Three open studios for ongoing artist-in-residence programs
  • Renovated 150-seat auditorium and theater
  • Restaurant and lounge overlooking the City and Central Park
  • Expanded Museum store

New exhibits include:

  • Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, featuring 50 contemporary artists from 17 countries who transform discarded, commonplace, or valueless manufactured and mass-produced objects into extraordinary works of art. Second Lives includes new commissions, site-specific installations, and works that have never been exhibited in the United States.
  • Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry , inaugurating the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery and works from the Museum's collection. From paper, rubber, plastic, found objects to precious gems and stones, view how objects can be made into jewelry.  Featuring over 200 objects from the pioneering works of the 1940s to the cutting edge pieces made this year, the exhibition provides a dazzling overview of the evolution of contemporary art jewelry.
  • Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection, presents 250 works from the Museum of Arts and Design's permanent collection. For the first time in the Museum's 52-year history, this exhibition introduces visitors to ceramic, glass, wood, metal, fiber, and mixed media works in the Museum's collections.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Kate deRosset/Danai Pointer (Cultural Affairs)   (212) 513-9322

Heidi Riegler (Museum of Arts and Design)   (212) 299-7713

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