New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY

So yeah. I’ve been awaiting this building since 2003. In baited hopes. They went with that look. You know what look that I am talking about. That super-modernist architecture where it’s bright white on the outside (and inside). The first art museum ever built from scratch in downtown Manhattan. But even I was seduced by its beauty and it’s handsome stacks that are quite calmingly intimidating. I love the fact that this summer (when it was pretty much nearly complete) I walked past it loads of times – my hostel was like 1 block away, and didn’t realise it was there. I mean, what kind of flaneur am I ?

Either way, I knew that I had to see what it was all about. It was rather busy for the time of day it was, but I mean.. It had only been open for about of a month and they got through the queues wayy faster than that of the MoMA. Everything had NEW on it. So name taggs. New Smizz for example. Loads of kids are clearily interning here but they don’t have a clue what they are looking at. (that’s a sly way of saying – I’d definately know what I’m looking at if I worked there ner nerr)

the New Museum is downtown’s answer to MOMA’s inflated 110-foot atrium, and a 21st- century rejoinder to Thomas Krens’s steroidal ambitions for a Guggenheim mall near Wall Street. Built on a  budget( lol yeah I know – a budget) of $50 million (MOMA, by comparison, came in at prostate-swelling $858 million) and sited within what the building’s architects—the Japanese firm SANAA—have called “a tight zoning envelope” ( not much bigger than the surrounding buildings), the New Museum updates that short list of international structures that meld rather than shoehorn the competing agendas of advanced art and architecture. The difference….if it still needs pointing out—is like that between marrying for love and an arranged wedding. For a student its reasonably priced. Its $6 but if you’re not… I think $12 is abit steep, for what it is. If you can afford to create the building for millions of Dollars than I’m sure you can afford to slacken off abit. As a holiday maker, sure I’ll pay that because it’s only £6. But as an american citizen where the minimum wage is where I have to work 2-4 hours for the admission price then I don’t think it’s on.

The first exhibition to really make the Art Museum stand out, does it in such away where complexity meets commodity. What I mean by this, is that, to put it in my Yorkshire native, ” it’s shit.”

The spaces are over-loaded. The design of the building  has no windows, only sky lights, and small open spaces (the big fuck off lift that doesn’t ever turn up takes about a 3rd of the museums space). Instead of narrowing their decisions of  30 artists to even 20 could have gave this exhibition much more umpppfff!

As an exhibition, “Unmonumental” suffers from a flat, monotonous organisation, as it neither identifies nor encourages like most good exhibitions and all good stories…a beginning, middle, or an end. Uniform to a fault, it takes a lot of work that is alike and some that is not around the museum in a way that makes the entire show appear to be the work of a single artist collective. A sort of Back to the Future scenario that conjures up a grab-bag of influences… from Duchamp and Cornell to David Hammons . the exhibition embraces the ugly, the commonplace, and the recycled, only to fritter away a good deal of credibility on a species of hip formlessness that is neither new nor especially artful in parsing the personal, the art-historical, or the political. The claims made for this show—delivered with old-timey either/or authority—can’t help but consequently seem ridiculous.

Relief from this dull, trying show is found in only a few merciful instances.  And the skylight deck where you can over look the beautiful downtown Manhattan is the thing that makes you think, ” well at least I haven’t really wasted all of $12.”

As I read somewhere else: In the words of the English philosopher J.L. Austen come to mind when considering a show like “Unmonumental”:

“Aesthetics should abjure the beautiful for a generation and concentrate on the dainty and the dumpy.” Let it be noted that Austen never said anything about art being anywhere near this dull. <!–

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