What if the ONLY job you have as a nonprofit board is to ensure that your institution stays current? Yup, no fundraising; an infrastructure is already provided; policies are in place. A dream job? You bet and who gets this job? The board of the NYC Pop-Culture Museum (the sister of the Seattle branch), funded by Microsoft's founder Mr. Allen and due to open in 2020. Who could ask for anything more? Or could you.....
Here's the WSJ article
Pop-Culture Museum Eyes a Second Home
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is looking to open a New York City location of his Seattle-based Museum of Pop Culture, museum officials said.
The New York outpost would occupy a roughly 100,000-square-foot space that is home to the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library, located at 188 Madison Ave. near 34th Street. The space is part of a building that once housed the B. Altman department store.
City Investors LLC, an affiliate of Mr. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. company, acquired the library space in 2016 for $93.5 million, property records show.
Chris McGowan, a board vice president of the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, as it bills itself, said the cost of developing and building out the New York museum hasn’t been finalized, but it would be in the nine-figure range.
That would make the museum one of the most ambitious cultural projects slated for New York City, alongside the $455 million Shed arts center at Hudson Yards and the $160 million upgrade and expansion of the Frick Collection.
Creating a second home for the museum, which opened in Seattle 18 years ago, is “the natural evolution of our brand,” Mr. McGowan said. Mr. Allen declined to comment.
The museum’s brand already has changed and expanded over time. In 2000, the institution launched as the Experience Music Project, with a focus on rock ’n’ roll. Today, under the Museum of Pop Culture banner, it covers all aspects of its subject. Current exhibits focus on everything from Marvel comics to horror films to the rock band Nirvana.
Like the Seattle museum, the New York City location would be run as a nonprofit, Mr. McGowan said, adding that he anticipated the majority of the initial funding would be provided by Mr. Allen, the 65-year-old tech titan turned philanthropist.
Mr. Allen has been increasing his presence in the cultural realm in recent years, though the Museum of Pop Culture marks his first major foray into New York City’s arts scene.
In 2015, he founded the Seattle Art Fair, an event that attracts buyers and dealers from all over the world.
The New York museum is expected to open in about four years, Mr. McGowan said. The library will remain in the space until construction begins, he noted.
While New York City doesn’t have a directly comparable facility to the Museum of Pop Culture, the subject is covered in part by a host of institutions, said Mark Walhimer, a museum consultant based in the city. In particular, he pointed to the Museum of the Moving Image, located in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens.
As a result, for the Museum of Pop Culture to succeed, Mr. Walhimer said it must have a distinctive approach to the subject. In particular, he suggested it focus on the entertainment world’s ties to New York City.
The institution is planning such an approach, Mr. McGowan said, noting that he could see exhibits devoted to Broadway or hip-hop, among other topics with New York City roots.
At the same time, Mr. McGowan said the New York outpost might also feature exhibits from its Seattle counterpart.
The museum’s launch would spell the end for the Science, Industry and Business Library, which opened in 1996 with much fanfare. The library’s services will be absorbed into Midtown’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (formerly the Mid-Manhattan Library), which is under renovation and slated to reopen in 2020, library officials say.
The collection would become available at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main library at 42nd Street.
—Keiko Morris contributed to this article.
Write to Charles Passy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Appeared in the June 1, 2018, print edition as 'Pop-Culture Museum Eyes a Second Home.'