2 Downtowns, 1 New Museum

Japanese architects win raves for new New York building
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2007 10:22 AM CST
The new building for New York's New Museum, on the Bowery.   ((c) semarr)
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(Newser) – New York's New Museum, the scrappy showcase for contemporary art founded in a SoHo loft 30 years ago, reopens this weekend in a building Nicolai Ouroussoff describes as "a series of mismatched galleries precariously stacked one atop the other." For the New York Times' architectural critic, the building, designed by the Japanese architectural firm Sanaa, "succeeds on a spectacular range of levels." Not since the Museum of Modern Art opened in the 1930s "has a museum seemed so in touch with the present."

Standing on the Bowery, a thoroughfare on New York's Lower East Side that typifies the clash between grit and gentrification, the new New Museum offers "a striking expression of the neighborhood’s warring identities," writes the Times' Nicolai Ouroussoff. Sanaa's building was done relatively cheaply: It cost just $50 million in a city where the new Japanese-designed MoMA cost $858 million.