Openings Museums USA

New Museum gets into the start-up business

Creative, for-profit groups due to move into warehouse space that it owns next door

The New Museum, New York, plans to transform a warehouse next to its Bowery home into an "incubator" for cutting-edge art, design and technology. Due to open in summer 2014, the centre will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will become the home of more than 60 start-ups and creative entrepreneurs.

While collective workspaces are popular in the start-up business world, the New Museum’s effort marks the first time an art museum has sponsored such an initiative. “We envision the incubator as a future-leaning platform for new, hybrid art projects, innovative applications, and the next inspired online start-up,” says the museum’s deputy director Karen Wong.

The architects SO-IL and Gensler will renovate the 11,000-sq.-ft space, which the museum previously used for site-specific commissions from contemporary artists including Haroon Mizra and Spartacus Chetwynd. The remodelled site will offer conference rooms, screening rooms and studio space for resident artists.

The New Museum has already raised $2m for the project through donations from its board of trustees, the city government and the Ford Foundation, according to The New York Times. Though the centre is a non-profit effort, it will host for-profit businesses and individuals.

A staff committee will select participants through a competitive application process starting in January. The admitted members will pay a fee to the museum in exchange for access to the workspace. Studio-X, an experimental urban research lab that is part of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, has already been selected as an anchor tenant.

The project isn extension of the New Museum’s interest in “developing new formats for the distribution of knowledge,” says Massimiliano Gioni, the museum’s associate director, in a statement. In 2011, the museum founded Ideas City, a think tank devoted to urban living that holds a biannual festival and conferences around the world.

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