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PS1 welcomes public with flourish after construction

By Rebecca Henely

MoMA PS1, Long Island City’s longtime contemporary art institution on Jackson Avenue, cut the ribbon on its new entrance kiosk Monday.

“I’m very excited to be at this milestone for MoMA and MoMA PS1,” said Agnes Gund, chairwoman of PS 1’s board.

Visitors to the museum previously entered the building, which was once a school turned into a warehouse, through a courtyard, but now a gray structure with the institution’s name on it welcomes visitors at the intersection of Jackson and 46th avenues. The kiosk has a wide glass entrance and gray interior and is lit by multiple small bulbs in the ceiling.

“It’s hard to make a structure like this and make it inviting and also make it in tune with the architecture of PS1,” Gund said.

Klaus Bisenbach, director of MoMA PS1, said the new kiosk took two years to build and shows a new face to the community.

“Now when you enter you feel the institution is completely changed,” Bisenbach said.

The cost of the new kiosk was $2.3 million. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), the councilman for the neighborhood as well as chairman of the Council Cultural Affairs Committee, said the Council allocated $870,000 of that money.

“This is so beautiful and so inviting,” Van Bramer said of the new entrance.

While Monday was the grand opening for the kiosk, it was not the first time the Long Island City community got to see the space. Community Board 2 members used the kiosk last month for a town hall meeting about the middle-income community Hunters Point South. About 200 people attended the meeting.

Both Van Bramer and Bisenbach said the institution is working on a closer relationship with the neighborhood.

First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris said the new kiosk was magnificent and she said she was happy to be involved with MoMA PS1.

“I’ve always been amazed by this institution and the people behind the scenes,” Harris said.

Terri Osborne, of Borough President Helen Marshall’s office, also attended the ribbon-cutting and praised the new addition.

“It will not only benefit MoMA PS1, it will benefit the neighborhood,” Osborne said. “It will benefit Queens and it will benefit New York City.”

Bisenbach also invited those who attended the ribbon-cutting to see the institution’s new dome-like performance space in the courtyard of MoMA PS1. The white structure can be seen just beyond the kiosk.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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