Beginning at noon this Saturday the New Museum will open its new doors, but this morning we snuck a peak inside. The gray aluminum mesh exterior of the building is a whimsical stack of rectilinear boxes shifted off-axis, not unlike a pile of blocks arranged haphazardly by a toddler. It's a bold, dynamic presence on the Bowery and, along with the Bowery Hotel, signifies yet another firm step away from the area's gritty past.
After the jump, tons of pictures from inside every nook and cranny of the museum.
Perhaps the most striking feature inside the seven story museum is the complete absence of internal columns; the building is held together by a series of cross-bracings and the skylights allow natural light to filter through spaces where the stories are offset. The three main floors of galleries are airy but not particularly capacious, creating a cozy, modest context for the work. The fifth floor is given over to an educational center; the ground floor lobby features a bookstore, cafe and glass-walled gallery space; the basement level houses a 182-seat theater. On the seventh floor, an outdoor patio and glass enclosed event space will be used for installations and private soirees; the view of downtown from up there isn't bad.
The inaugural exhibit is titled "Unmonumental" and is an "international survey on all three main gallery floors that opens with sculpture by 30 artists from around the globe, then expands over the course of five months into a dense, teeming environmental experience through the addition of layers and collage, sound, and internet-based art." This will be on view through March 23rd, and there are a few major commissioned installations on the horizon as well. You'll see one of these greeting you before you even enter the building: The "Hell Yes!" sign (Ugo Rondinone) brightens up the Bowery and will be the first of many public art installations on the facade.
Naturally the museum can't afford to be shy about jumping in bed with corporate sponsors, so the first 30 straight hours of its opening - which goes on continuously through the night - will be sponsored by Target and admission will be free. Naturally, all the free tickets have already been distributed. But don't despair; they expect some tickets to go unused, "thus it may be possible for visitors to show up during the course of the marathon event and get a ticket on the spur of the moment; but there is absolutely no guarantee!" In other words, you'll have a good shot of getting in for free around 3am. After they burn through all the Target sponsorship money, it'll cost $12.
Above photo of the lobby cafe, with mischievously mis-matched chairs.
Foreground: "Canon enigmatico a 108 voces" by Abraham Cruzvillegas. Background (sofa bed) "Fuck Destiny" by Sarah Lucas. Further back is "Cube" by Rebecca Warren.
Ground floor "BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING" by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.
"Our Love is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours (Tree)" by Martin Boyce. Photo by Jake Dobkin.
Lower level theater.
"Split Endz (wig mix)" by Jim Lambie.
"Myth Monolith (Liberation Movement)" by Marc Andre Robinson.
"Untitled (Kerze)" by Urs Fischer. Photo by Jake Dobkin
Lots of architectural critics commented on the slim staircase from the 5th to the 6th floor-- there's a small gallery off the landing with an audio piece.
The bathroom tiling is totally insane.
No, seriously-- it's really totally insane. (Picture from our frenemies at Curbed.)
Can you tell we love the bathrooms? This is the girls' side, via Namatovu on Flickr.
Skyline shot from the seventh floor balconies-- the view of downtown is the true highlight of the visit.
View from inside the skybox on the 7th floor.
Last but not least, a view of the lattice-skin mesh. It doesn't look as good up close as it does from far away, but it's still kind of funky.
More pictures can be found at the Gothamist Flickr stream.