The Queens Museum of Art is doubling in size with its expansion set to open this October, and seems to be countering that growth by halving the words in its name down to the succinct Queens Museum. Despite already inhabiting the grand space of the New York City Building from the 1939 World’s Fair, the $68 million expansion project is bringing its total space to 105,000 square feet. In comparison, the Brooklyn Museum is 560,000 square feet, and the Metropolitan Museum is more than 2,000,000, so it will still be something of a lightweight on the local museum scene, although it will bring it closer to the space capabilities of an institution like MoMA PS1, which is at 125,000 square feet.
Spending all day being party-bused between the three museums — El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Queens Museum of Art — who are hosting the self-proclaimed landmark exhibition “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World,” I was repeatedly told by the museum directors, curators and artists just how significant and groundbreaking the exhibition is. However, I left the final museum feeling confused by the jumbled mix of artistic styles and periods shoved together.
At the beginning of the 2012 Queens International, the fifth biennial of Queens artists to be staged by the Queens Museum of Art, you are asked to take a journey. The exhibit’s subtitle, Three Points Make a Triangle, was inspired by the French surrealist René Daumal’s unfinished 1944 work Le Mont Analogue, a “roman d’aventures alpines, non euclidiennes et symboliquement authentiques” (“a book of alpine adventures, non-euclidean and authentically symbolic”) in which eight explorers employing science and metaphysics discover an invisible mountain. Daumal died of tuberculosis at the age of 36, the book and its journey cut short, halfway through a sentence in the fifth chapter.
If the Queens Museum of Art isn’t the most well-known museum, it certainly is one of the most resourceful as it seems to work wonders with the limited resources they have. Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 9) is QMA’s annual gala and we hope you will consider supporting one of the borough of Queens’s leading venues for contemporary art.