|Le Voyage dans la Lune|
Pop-up places are here to stay. Stores, showcasing established and unknown clothes designers, randomly appearing at your local mall. Kriston Capps of CityLab has a great idea, why not pop-up satellite museums? Why not indeed? His recent article, "Why Every Art Museum Should Launch a Pop-Up Satellite," elaborates on a good way to bring the ivory tower museums to out-of-the-way places.
The Underground Museum in Los Angeles, California is an example of a museum, randomly appearing somewhere in the city. The museum, located on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles recently featured an animation installation by William Kentridge titled 7 Fragments for George Méliès. However, as Mr. Capps writes, "...but that's not the reason people should be pumped-or not the only one. No, what's so great about 7 Fragments is that it's a Museum of Contemporary Art-featuring an artwork from the Museum of Contemporary Art collection-that's not on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art."
|Veils at the Underground Museum|
Los Angeles, California
For the next three years, the Underground will feature a series of exhibitions curated by [founder and painter, Noah] Davis, that will be drawn from MOCA's permanent collection-placing important works of art in a largely working-class black and Latino neighborhood at the heart of Los Angeles.
What city would not reap benefits from placing a non-museum space for showing off the collection(s) from its established museums? Museums should be jumping at the chance to expand their reach and audience. Pop-up museums would be an ideal place to show case work by unknown and emerging artists.
|Expanding the cultural reach 1994-2008|
Alright, Los Angeles does have plenty of museums-as do a lot of other cities. The above map shows that over the past two decades, the United States has undergone a record cultural building boom. Citing Joanna Woronkowicz, D. Carroll Joynes, and Norman Bradburn in Building Better Arts Facilities, Mr. Capps explains,
...most metropolitan statistical areas have erected new facilities within recent years. During one narrow window (2000-2002), 87 percent of MSAs with a population of 2 million or more launched new cultural buildings. About one-third of small MSAs (population 500,000 or fewer) did the same...Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago
|"Cost of Projects by Year (2005 USD)"|
Rising construction costs aside, there is a case to be made for pop-up satellite museums, instead of adding expansions. This particularly true for contemporary art museums. Whatever museum you can think of has more artwork than they can possibly put on exhibit and the challenge is to reach various communities. The answer is very simple: take the work out of storage and to the people.
|Museum of Modern Art P.S. 1|
Queens, New York
Photograph by Matthew Septimus