It’s late on a Friday, but some big news just landed in the old ARTnews inbox: the Bronx Museum of the Arts is planning what it’s calling an “artist workspace and exhibition venue” at 80 White Street in the Tribeca section of Lower Manhattan. Slated to open next year, the new location, which measures a hearty 4,500 square feet, will be in the heart of an arts area that has grown rapidly in recent years. Artists Space is working on a major new space, and dealers like Postmasters, Alexander & Bonin, Queer Thoughts, and Bortolami have also set up shop close by.
In a news release, the museum said that the new outpost will further its “mission to support underrepresented artists in New York. Designed to support AIM, the museum’s career development program for emerging New York City artists, the space will serve as a community resource hub featuring private workspaces, exhibition facilities, meeting rooms, and career management resources for the creative and professional development of AIM alumni.” The project space is a gift from Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka, and Gerald Weinstein.
“Room for artists to work, think, and experiment is vital,” Deborah Cullen, who was hired as executive director of the Bronx Museum in June, said in a statement. “This new program at 80 White Street will afford exactly this opportunity. We are committed in our advocacy for artists and to the importance of programs like AIM.”
While the Whitney Museum ran satellite locations in various locations from the 1970s until the early 2000s, seeing a major museum start a satellite location remains something of a rarity in New York today. In 2016, the Neuberger Museum, which is located in Purchase, New York, opened a gallery called Space 42 on West 42nd Street. Further afield, in 2015, the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts, opened a satellite cheekily named Rosebud. And in 2016, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which operates three venues throughout the city, started collaborating with the Underground Museum in Arlington Heights on various programming efforts, but the latter remains a fully autonomous operation.
On a much larger scale, the Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed in 2011 to lease the Breuer Building from the Whitney, creating the Met Breuer, but this month it announced that it would depart its lease early to save money and focus on programming at its Fifth Avenue headquarters, with the Frick potentially moving in while it renovates. And in 2000, the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City became an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, though that’s a somewhat different case since, by that point, PS1 had a nearly 30-year independent history. The Dia Art Foundation has also operated a number of sites throughout the Greater New York area over the years.
Given the vast amount of art that sits in museum storage, the vast number of artists in the city with few opportunities to show their work, and the vast amount of money spent on big-ticket museum renovations, it would certainly be nice to see some major institutions branch out by opening up exhibition venues—or perhaps affordable artist studios—throughout the city, and working with local communities to program them. One can dream! (In fact, Park McArthur’s forthcoming exhibition at MoMA takes the form of a proposal that touches on some of these ideas.) For now, though, an interesting experiment from the Bronx Museum is in the offing.