via the International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: February 8, 2007
NEW YORK: A new $80 million (€61.58 million) Museum for African Art will serve as "a cultural gateway to Harlem," which is enjoying a real-estate and economic renaissance, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.
"This museum reaffirms our city's commitment to arts and culture as the backbone to the tourism industry," Bloomberg said at the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue.
Plans were unveiled there for the new home of the Museum for African Art, which is to open in 2009 on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, at the edge of Harlem.
The first exhibits will include a recreation of an African village, a selection of ancient masterpieces and the work of contemporary artists both in Africa and in the so-called diaspora outside the continent.
During its 22-year existence, the museum, now based in Long Island City, Queens, has had to borrow space in various institutions for its exhibits, which have traveled worldwide.
"We often joke about our nomadic existence," said museum president Elsie McCabe. At the same time, she said of its exhibits, "we've been everywhere from Birmingham to Budapest."
Construction on the new building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is to begin this spring. [full article]
From the Museum for African Art's website:
Permanent New Home at the top of Museum Mile/Fifth Avenue
The Museum is preparing for an important transformation -- the creation of our permanent home in a new building at Fifth Avenue and East 110th Street. Here, where New York’s Museum Mile meets the Latino, African and African-American communities of Harlem at the top of Central Park at Duke Ellington Circle, the museum will find its place within the richly diverse cultural landscape that distinguishes our city and nation.
The new building will provide:
- Over 16,000 feet of state-of-the-art exhibition galleries
- An interactive education center
- A 210 seat theater with stage
- A semi-enclosed roof garden which will serve as a year-round, revenue generating events space
- A cafe/restaurant
- Climate controlled art storage and conservation facilities
Upon completion of the project in 2008, the museum will have sufficient gallery space to simultaneously exhibit classic and contemporary African art, along with a gallery devoted to changing installations of masterpieces of African sculpture from our permanent collection.
Until our opening in our new, permanent home in 2008, the Museum will no longer host exhibitions in our temporary galleries in Long Island City but will continue to organize exhibitions in various off-site spaces in Manhattan or in other cities around the country.
Update 2/9/07: More coverage from the New York Times:
The Museum for African Art, which has had a nomadic existence since it opened in 1984, will finally gain a permanent home in a soaring new building designed by Robert A. M. Stern, on Fifth Avenue between 109th and 110th Streets, officials announced yesterday. [full article]
Pictured: Design for the Museum. Neoscape/Robert A.M. Stern Architects [image source]