February 29, 2008

Rybczynski on "The Grey Lady"

Witold Rybczynski's slideshow on Slate about the new NY Times headquarters designed by Renzo Piano.

February 25, 2008

Heights of fashion in the world of architecture

Tom Dyckhoff has a funny piece on the Times' (of London) online site called "Heights of fashion in the world of architecture: Gehry to Koolhaas, What will the best-dressed buildings be wearing this year?"
First a style appears - sported by some avant-garde Isabella Blow-a-like such as Rem Koolhaas or Herzog & de Meuron - next thing you know every architect in the country's copied it from the architectural magazines, run it up in their sweatshops and covered our high streets in it. One minute it's edgy, next it's your local Asda. Five years ago it was buildings shaped like wedges. Since the Gherkin, it's all curves. Once Rafael Viñoly's Walkie Talkie's gone up in the City, though, all skyscrapers will have to look like electrical goods.

Look for these trends at a new museum near you.

(The article was inspired by an upcoming exhibit "Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture" that will open at Somerset House in April.)

February 23, 2008

The Broad Contemporary Art Museum

In his February 15th review in the New York Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff turns up his nose at the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Los Angeles. He finds it to be "remarkably uninspired" and faults the museum for not creating "a monument to the civic aspirations of Los Angeles."

The Times takes a similarly sniffy attitude towards the Broad's opening exhibit that they see as simply "rounding up the usual suspects" because it presents some of the best known examples of contemporary art rather than something edgier.

These are cheap shots. The Times wants the museum and the exhibit to somehow be more like the Los Angeles New Yorkers imagine than the Los Angeles that people actually live in. I'll be more interested to know how the public responds.

The new LACMA (of which the Broad is part) has the potential to become a wonderful indoor/outdoor pedestrian space. If the new courtyards and new exhibits are filled with Angelinos talking about art and enjoying each other as well as the quality of the Los Angeles light, then the museum will be a success.

Opening Post

Museum Insights is a new blog with a particular interest in new museums and museums that are undergoing significant transformations. I will post links to recent popular press articles about such museums and will write about museum architecture, museum master planning, new exhibits, unusual programming ideas, and operational and other issues that affect museums broadly.