BREAKING! The New New Museum Is Breaking Ground Right Now


What seems like a million years ago we went to the New Museum in Soho and patiently sat through what seemed like an hours-long presentation of Sanaa‘s new New Museum design, which we understood with our latent critical ability as looking like a bunch of shifted matchboxes all on top of each other. Apparently, though, we had much to learn in the intervening million years, and Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, working together as Sanaa, are now at the top of their game and the height of their field, and we’re kind of taking to the project like a duck to water or a fish to gin. Choose your own metaphor. Here’s what the release says about the design:

The new New Museum will rise on the site of what is currently a parking lot at 235 Bowery, between Stanton and Rivington Streets at the beginning of Prince Street, on a pivotal geographic and cultural point in New York City’s urban fabric, along one of its most storied thoroughfares, where several of the city’s most distinctive communities meet. A dramatic stack of rectangular boxes shifted off axis in different directions, dressed in silvery metal cladding and punctuated by skylights and windows offering vistas and vignettes of the city, the building will feature expansive flexible, column-free exhibition spaces, a 188-seat theater, a sun-flooded lobby bookstore, expanded classrooms, library and study center, cafe, and rooftop terraces facing south and east over the cityscape.

The groundbreaking is happening on the Bowery RIGHT NOW, and we’ve got a live UnBeige correspondent texting updates in as they happen. So far:

11:10 am: Tons of chicster dufuses r converging on a parking lot.
11:11 am: There’s a shinto shrine!
11:12 am: And a shinto priest!
11:13 am: Laurie anderson is going 2 perform!!
11:16 am: LA [Laurie Anderson]: “i get a thrill putting electronics in my mouth.
11:20 am: Groundbreaking sponsored by Altria.
11:22 am: Sej and nizi introduced. bow low.
11:24 am: Kate d. levin is very tall.
11:25 am: She said ferment.
11:27 am: “we r here 2day with shovels.”
11:33 am: Blah x 3.

We’re expecting near-constant coverage for the next hour or so, and we’ll keep you as posted as we are.