No. 393 . 20 August 2008 
ArchitectureWeek
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New York New Museum

by Michael J. Crosbie

As you make your way east on Prince Street from Sixth Avenue in lower Manhattan, a pile of shimmering cubes rises at the end of Prince as it dead-ends at the Bowery. What is it? There are no windows in sight. A puffy white cloud slowly passes behind it and the silvery tower seems to disappear inside the cumulus skycraft.

The tower seems scaleless, flat, and texture-starved from the vantage of several blocks. But as you move nearer, you start to pick up the play of shadows as they jump from box to box, and then the glimmering visual hum of the aluminum mesh that wraps the entire pile.

From behind a tree on Prince Street emerges a bright, colorful plastic rainbow mounted to the front of the museum, proclaiming "HELL, YES!" (a work by artist Ugo Rondinone). Another half block and you see inside the ground floor, which appears to be an open extension of the sidewalk.

You have arrived at the New Museum, New York's answer to the question: How do you design a museum that challenges every staid expectation of what an art museum is supposed to be? The New Museum is it.   >>>

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