Museum Mile runs along Fifth Avenue from 104th Street (El Museo Del Barrio) to the Frick Collection on East 70th, though some of its museums are better-known, and -loved, than others. Take the Cooper-Hewitt, the Smithsonian's New York outpost and supposed gatekeeper of design in America. Currently closed for renovation, the museum is undergoing something of a culture crisis, and sharp-penned architecture critic Alexandra Lange has a few words of advice for bringing the sexy back to design.
· Fix the name, officially a mouthful of "Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution"— commas included.
· Update the museum's profile for a contemporary audience. Lange advises a Tumblr, which curates by association: "An online strategy is key, but I’d like less talk, more pictures. Make it creative rather than dutiful."
· Quit blaming the building. Curators love to pins its exhibition issues on the 1903 Andrew Carnegie Mansion, but come on! Isn't the design process, i.e. solving visual and spatial problems under constraint, able to overcome the challenges of an interesting-on-its-own, "difficult" space?
We're curious to hear your thoughts, in addition to the design heavies commenting over on Lange's post. What makes design relevant in a museum setting?
· What the Cooper-Hewitt Needs: More Design, Less Talk [Design Observer]
· Official site: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution [cooperhewitt.org]