Magazine article Art Monthly

The New Museum

Magazine article Art Monthly

The New Museum

Article excerpt

Peter Scott (see Reviews p23) reports on the first of the four parts of 'Unmonumental', the opening exhibition at the new New Museum, and also on the way the museum has sought to position itself in its move from Chelsea to the Bowery. The physical transformation of the area is apparent. And for all the newness of the city, the experience of New York, in most places where you look up, is often of oldness, which means that newness, while not necessarily being cowed, has to consider how it behaves. A new hotel is being built opposite the Village Voice in a futuristic design--like the New Museum, it is much taller than the four- and five-storey brick buildings of the area, and opens in the summer. Room rates at the modern (but old world) Bowery Hotel, not so far from the New Museum, range from $495 to $1,200. There is not so much room in the area for people who are, 'soaked, sodden, steeped, soused, sloshed, saturated, drenched, flying the ensign, over the bay, half-seas over, decks awash, down with the fish' (in the words of Martha Rosler's, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems, 1974-75). Another view on the New Museum, though also a critical one, has been offered by Stanley Fish, the literary theorist, in the New York Times. Even literary theorists do blogs: 'I know that I'm supposed to admire the structure of stacked-slightly-off-kilter boxes, but it didn't do anything for me. The interior irritated me, starting with the pretentious-because-it-declares-itself-to-be-unpretentious concrete floor (complete with cracks). Then there were the harsh, industrial-style lights; the gift shop behind a mesh curtain of the kind you find in pawn shops; the cattle-car elevator; and the tiny cafe, intended, it would seem, to be inadequate to any conceivable occasion. …

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