Museum of the Moving Image is moving!

The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria reopened recently after three years of renovations and re-imaginings.
Founding director Rochelle Slovin and trustee board chairman Herbert S. Schlosser, with the design acumen of architect Thomas Leeser, has added some 47,000 square feet of space to the city-owned building that has housed the museum since 1988.
The museum will feature screenings, art exhibitions and boasts an impressive collection of movie memorabilia.
“We wanted to add some glamour to the building,” said Slovin, in the museum’s main theatre standing in front of an enormous multicolored curtain created by textile designer Cindy Cirko. “We are in a glamour field and felt as if we never communicated that as well as we might.”
Charged with the task of adding that glamour to the museum’s reboot was Leeser Architecture; an internationally acclaimed studio, specializing in everything from museums and exhibitions to institutional and residential projects.
Leeser is used to mammoth undertakings as his architectural studio was one of only five international firms selected to design the Olympic Village for NYC2012, the city’s push for the 2012 Olympics. For the Moving Image project, Leeser sought to capture the essence of the moving image itself.
“We most of all wanted to capture the ephemerality of the moving image,” he said. “This begins with the front entrance, designed of semi-transparent mirrored glass – a part-visual, part-material screen, where reflection and vision are overlaid as if in a form of physical suspension.”
Leeser said that stepping into his completed project was like walking through the very schematics he pored over time after time. For visitors though, Leeser wanted them to feel as though they were stepping into a moving image – and an otherworldly one at that.
The new film theater is built with the ability to project in any format, from 16mm to 70mm and 3D digital. Blue vacuum-formed acoustic panels clad the theater’s walls and the seating area is slightly elevated, giving visitors the appearance of being in an enclosure that is floating above the theater.
“Film-going is an imaginary voyage,” said Leeser. “Entering the theater is not unlike entering an alien’s spaceship.”
After seeing the renovations through, Slovin will retire as director at the end of February. Taking over for her will be Carl Goodman, who worked as the senior deputy director under Slovin.
“The inauguration of this building, almost 30 years to the day after the institution was founded, brings to a close our early history while opening a major new chapter in the museum’s life,” Slovin said. “The new design enhances its status as one of the major cultural institutions of New York.”
For a schedule of exhibitions and events at the museum, visit www.movingimage.us.

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