Closing Bell: Architecture and Art Critics Check Out the Queens Museum

queens-museum

Art critic Jerry Saltz and architecture critic Justin Davidson toured the newly renovated, expanded Queens Museum for New York Magazine. Ultimately, their conversation leans on the harsher side in regards to the new design. We pulled out a few highlights:

On the facade: “I know that artists will be able to program the façade, but really it’s a highbrow billboard begging commuters to pay attention.” “It was never a wonderful building, but it troubles me that the shorthand for a renovation is to slap a layer of glass on the side facing the road and call it new… The other façade, which opens onto the park, is more promising.” “… At least it broadcasts, ‘Hey, come here. We’re big and new and shiny. This could be fun.’ Too bad it couldn’t also be a good-looking building.”

The interior: “Instead of this soaring, double-height atrium, the entire second story could have been used for art or cultural artifacts or whatever the hell this museum might want to install.” “The architects at Grimshaw have tied themselves in knots to express the idea of openness. That means lots of glass, high ceilings, few walls, and plenty of space unencumbered by, you know, art.” “And what’s with that idiotic space-eating twisty staircase? And the obligatory glass-skywalk thing?”

The programming: “I’ve got a lot of faith in Finkelpearl and his curators. In the next couple of weeks, they’ve got some performance restaging the United Nations, which sounds pretty great.”

And on the future: “Something great may unfurl in this next phase at this would-be great ‘art’ museum.”

A First Look at the Queens Museum’s World of Tomorrow [New York Magazine]

Photo by Queens Museum