The Dahesh Museum of Art, one of the most appealing museums ever to open in Manhattan, today announced that it has relocated the Museum Gift Shop and offices to 145 Sixth Avenue, between Dominick and Spring, in Hudson Square.
The 3,500-square-foot ground floor space, formerly occupied by The Villager and its sister newspapers, will also serve as a coordination/information center for all Dahesh Museum of Art projects and activities, including public programs. Theo David Architects designed the space with Michael Fahey of Fahey Design Build. PS, the design firm headed by Penny Hardy, provided environmental graphics and branding materials.
Wrapping around the corner of Dominick Street and what neighbors call “little Sixth Avenue”, the Museum Shop offers an oasis of retail therapy to the 30,000-50,000 people who work and live in the area, and the many more tourists who sojourn there and visit nearby SoHo. Gift Shop offerings include books, catalogues, clothes and furnishings that reflect and reference themes drawn from Museum’s rich exhibition history exploring and championing 19th-century academic art.
According to Amira Zahid, one of the Museum’s founding Trustees, “After 17 years in midtown, we are more than ready to join the movement downtown. The Museum opened its doors to the public in 1995 on 48th Street and Fifth Avenue, and then moved uptown to the IBM building at Madison Avenue and 56th Street. Here in Hudson Square, we feel youthful energy abounding. And, we love looking out on a tree-lined park. Through the Shop and public programs, we hope to introduce the art of the “other” 19th century — as it shaped and discovered the world — to those who frequent this dynamic area.”
For the last 4 years, the Dahesh Museum of Art has functioned as a museum-without-walls, developing and traveling exhibitions within the United States and abroad, while lending important works from its collection to museums worldwide. During this time, the Museum has enjoyed partnering with Syracuse University to mount exhibitions on campus and at Lubin House, the University’s New York gallery space. In June 2011, the Museum and Syracuse University traveled to Dubai, UAE, to present Reconnecting East & West, a joint exhibition curated by Dahesh Museum staff that explored 19th-century European documentation of Islamic ornament and its enduring influence on the modern cityscape in the Gulf. Reconnecting East & West was the first bilingual exhibition organized by the Museum with wall text and catalogue in both English and Arabic.
This year, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at California’s Pepperdine University in Malibu, selected 32 works from the Museum collection and organized The Epic and the Exotic: 19th-Century Academic Realism from the Dahesh Museum of Art (January-April 2012). The Museum has loaned artworks to the Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris; the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY; and the Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. In spring 2013, five stunning Egyptian-themed paintings from the Dahesh Collection will anchor the Egyptomania exhibition and publication at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.
As the Museum continues to look for a building to serve as its permanent home, it plans to mount original exhibitions drawn from its collection in pop-up spaces in New York City, and to display select works from its collection in the new Gift Shop space. At the same time, it will continue to create traveling exhibitions and loan works from the collection.
During its 17-year history, the Dahesh Museum of art has presented over 45 thematic exhibitions, with accompanying publications, revealing the diversity of 19th-and early 20th- century European academic art, as well as its impact on artistic training, art making and collecting in Europe and the United States.