Best Museum to See on Your Lunch Break - 2008
It was no accident that the inaugural show at the New Museum?s new location on the Bowery was called ?unmonumental.? That goes for the building (a silvery, offset, seven-story pile), its ambitious but unfussy curators, and, most of all, the institution?s pleasingly ramshackle aura. Leaving the monumentalism to Museum Mile, the New Museum turns a comparatively small amount of exhibition space to its advantage. A street-level entrance, stairs between floors, galleries you don?t need a map to navigate, and weekend access to the museum?s rooftop deck all help make the space feel less like a temple and more like a particularly clean artist?s studio. As the only major museum in New York wholly committed to contemporary art, the work comes with a tacit institutional acknowledgment that not everything on display is so very precious. Nobody, in other words, will make you feel bad for only staying for 30 or 40 minutes?i.e., see something you like, then duck out before exhaustion sets in.