The New Museum primarily advocates for “free and open society” and welcomes “difference, debate, and multiple viewpoints.” Founding director Maria Tucker hatched the idea to erect a building dedicated to the support of contemporary artists.
Having first worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she noticed that contemporary artists were not as revered as older artists. Therefore, contemporary artists were less celebrated or desired at many museums. To combat stigma against contemporary artists, Tucker set up an institution that created space for the flourishing of contemporary art.
The New Museum, designed by Tokyo-based architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA, stands at seven stories. The building is between Stanton and Rivington Streets. The building is a neutral beige and the architects stacked the floors on top of one another like Jenga. The lack of perfect linearity gives the New Museum an interesting and unique look that forces visitors to stop and reflect. The architects wanted the building to embody fearlessness and elegance.