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The demolition of an existing building, that will pave the way for construction of a new complex for Center for Maine Contemporary Art, is scheduled to begin next week.

Rockland Main Street Inc. sent out a notice last week that advised downtown businesses that during the weeklong demolition, Winter Street, which runs off Main Street, will be one-way. Demolition is expected to begin Sept. 8.

Excavation for the new foundation for the arts center on Winter Street is tentatively scheduled for October.

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A seven-day schedule implemented last year at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art brought a 7% increase in attendance at the former but no change at the latter, Crain’s New York reported. MoMA started admitting visitors on Tuesdays beginning May 1, 2013; the Met’s transition from six to seven days took place two months later, in July.

A spokesman for the Met told Crain’s that the flat figures were caused by an “unusually harsh winter” along with ongoing construction, begun in late 2013, on the museum’s entrance plaza.

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Back in December 2012, officials at the New York Public Library released a number of important details pertaining to their $300 million renovation. Part of the project involved clearing out the back portion of the library, which is housed in a landmark building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The plan has 1.2 million volumes being relocated to a storage space under Bryant Park as well as another facility in Princeton, NJ. Most of the exiled books are now available digitally and library officials purposely chose rarely requested books to be relocated. With the newly freed up space, the architecture firm Foster & Partners, plan to create a four-level atrium with curving balconies filled with bookshelves and reading tables overlooking Bryant Park. It will be the first time since the library was built in 1911 that patrons will be able to see the park.

The library received a fair amount of criticism after announcing their plans to renovate and Advocates for Justice, a nonprofit organization, has just filed a lawsuit on behalf of five preservations and scholars. The plaintiffs are arguing that the library is violating its charter and the state’s constitution by removing the aforementioned books. The suit also claims that the library failed to conduct an environmental impact review for the renovation plans. While the library recently applied for building permits, officials claim that they are for “preliminary work” and that the designs have not been finalized.

The busiest public research library in the United States, the New York Public Library is expected to span 100,000 square feet after renovations are complete. Construction is slated to begin this summer and is expected to last until 2018.

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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. announced that Oprah Winfrey will donate $12 million to support the capital campaign of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Winfrey donated $1 million in 2007, bringing her total contribution to the project to $13 million. She has been a member of the museum’s advisory council since 2004. To thank her for her generosity, the Smithsonian will name the museum’s 350-seat theater the Oprah Winfrey Theater.

The museum, which is currently under construction, is expected to cost $500 million by the time it reaches completion. Congressional funding provided half of the capital and the rest is being raised by the museum. The museum is situated on 5 acres of land and sits next to the Washington Monument. It will be the 19th Smithsonian museum.

Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian Secretary, said, “At its heart, the National Museum of African History and Culture is a showcase for a richer, fuller picture of the American experience. The Oprah Winfrey Theater will bring untold stories alive through films, performances, artistic expression and public dialogue.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open in late 2015.

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Thursday, 06 June 2013 14:25

Hirshhorn Museum Nixes Bubble Project

The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. has decided to abandon its Seasonal Inflatable Structure project, also known as “the Bubble.” Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Undersecretary Richard Kern announced the decision after the museum’s Director, Richard Koshalek, resigned due to the board of trustees’ inability to reach a consensus in regards to the project. Koshalek will step down on June 29, 2013.

The bubble project, which was considered Koshalek’s signature project, has been in debate since 2009 but was continually stalled due to rising construction costs and conflicting feelings about the structure’s purpose. The original vision was to create a 150-foot-tall bubble that would connect the inside and outside of the Hirshhorn and create additional space for installations and performances. Designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, the bubble was expected to cost over $12.5 million to create and install. Previous fund-raising efforts brought in about $7.8 million.

When it was first announced, the Bubble garnered national attention and was applauded for being highly innovated.

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Monday, 03 June 2013 18:03

SFMOMA Breaks Ground on New Expansion

San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) broke ground on its highly anticipated expansion on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Around 300 supporters gathered to witness the kick-off of the construction project that will add 225,000-square-feet to the museum. The renovated space is expected to reopen in 2016.

 Snøhetta, an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm based in Oslo, Norway and New York City, designed SFMOMA’s expansion, which is expected to cost around $610 million. 89% of the capital has already been collected through fundraising. Officials upped their original estimate for construction from $555 million in May.

 SFMOMA’s expansion will more than double the existing exhibition space and provide nearly six times as much public space as their currently Mario Botta-designed building. The renovation will create a new outdoor terrace, a sculpture terrace, and state-of-the-art conservation studios. The museum will also take a more environmentally sensitive approach to day-to-day operations. SFMOMA hopes to gain LEED Gold certification by reducing their energy costs, water use, and wastewater generation.



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An anonymous donor has given $15 million to the future Pérez Art Museum Miami. The Miami Art Museum announced on Friday, May 17, 2013 that they received $12 million in cash and $3 million art. It is unclear whether the donor has had any involvement with the museum and why the benefactor wishes to remain nameless.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami, which is months away from opening, was formerly known as the Miami Art Museum. The institution closed in 2011 and construction on the new building, which was designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and overlooks Miami’s Biscayne Bay, began immediately. Fundraising efforts for the project began in 2004 when Miami-Dade county voters approved a general obligation bond for $100 million in public money. Private donors contributed another $60 million for the building’s construction and institutional endowment. After developer Jorge Pérez pledged $35 million to the project in 2011, officials decided to rename the Miami Art Museum The Pérez Art Museum Miami, which did not go over well and led to a number of board members and collectors withdrawing their support.

The latest gift, which comes with no strings attached, brings the museum to 85% of its $220 million fundraising goal. The generous donation will go towards the museum’s endowment.

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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 17:51

LACMA to Build a New Home

On Wednesday, May 1, 2013 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that they will publicly unveil plans for a new building next month. The institution has picked Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor to design LACMA’s new home.

The project is expected to cost $650 million and will include the demolition of the original LACMA building, which was built in 1965, as well as an addition that was constructed in 1986. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas proposed a similar plan in 2001 but fundraising problems prompted the museum to cancel the project. Michael Govan, the current director of LACMA, has been ramping up fundraising efforts since he joined the museum in 2006 and has succeeded in expanding donor funding and enlarging the museum’s board.

Under Govan’s direction, LACMA had opened two buildings designed by Renzo Piano, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and the Resnick Pavilion. Zumthor’s plans leave the newer buildings untouched as well as the Pavilion for Japanese Art, which opened in 1988.

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The Louvre’s new outpost in Abu Dhabi, which is slated to open in 2015, has assembled the 130 paintings, miniatures, sculptures, and other artworks that will form its permanent collection. Museum officials allowed reporters a sneak peek of the works including paintings by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Rene Magritte (1898-1967), Édouard Manet (1832-1883), and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). The entire collection will be on view from April 22 to July 20, 2013 as part of the exhibition The Birth of a Museum at a gallery on the island of Saadiyat, close to where construction for the new museum is currently underway.

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection is comprised of numerous works from private collections, many of which have never been on public view before. Highlights from the museum’s holdings include Picasso’s gouache, ink, and collage work on paper Portrait of a Lady (1928); Gauguin’s Children Wrestling (1888); and Paul Klee’s (1879-1940) Oriental Bliss (1938).

The Louvre’s new venue, which was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, is the museum’s first branch outside of France. The venture is expected to bring the Louvre and its French partner museums approximately $1.31 million over 30 years. The Louvre also has an offshoot location in the northern city of Lens.

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Twelve years ago, the Folk Art Museum erected a monumental flagship building next door to the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. In 2011, after a spate of financial troubles, the Folk Art Museum decided to sell the building to MoMA and move to a smaller outpost. Now, the MoMA is planning to demolish the building to make way for an expansion that will connect to a new tower on the other side of the former Folk Art Museum.

The building, which was designed by notable New York-based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and features a sculptural bronze façade, has become a Midtown landmark in a short amount of time. However, MoMA officials decided that the building didn’t mesh well with the museum’s glass façade; it is also set back further than MoMA’s structure, making expansion logistics difficult.

MoMA’s new 82-story building will be designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and constructed by Hines, a Houston-based company. The new structure will include apartments and about 40,000 square feet of gallery space. The Folk Art Museum’s former space will provide an additional 10,000 square feet of exhibition space. The renovation is expected to begin in 2014 by which time the Folk Art Museum’s former home will be leveled.      

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