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Open Engagement, an annual free art conference based in Portland, is heading over to Queens! The conference, which explores different perspectives on art and social practice, will be based at the Queens Museum, with additional programming at the New York Hall of Science, Queens Theater in the Park, Immigrant Movement International, and various other locations in New York. It’ll last three days, from May 16th to May 18th, and feature open houses with NYC organizations supporting social art, keynote speakers, and collaboration between 200 artists and presenters from around the world. Best of all, the whole event will be free and open to the public. Open Engagement will announce details on programming this March.

If you’d like to contribute to the three-day event with proposals for presentations, projects, performances, tours or panel ideas, go here. And if you are interested in hosting an out-of-town artist during the conference, you can contact openengagement@gmail.com.

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Art critic Jerry Saltz and architecture critic Justin Davidson toured the newly renovated, expanded Queens Museum for New York Magazine. Ultimately, their conversation leans on the harsher side in regards to the new design. We pulled out a few highlights:

On the facade: “I know that artists will be able to program the façade, but really it’s a highbrow billboard begging commuters to pay attention.” “It was never a wonderful building, but it troubles me that the shorthand for a renovation is to slap a layer of glass on the side facing the road and call it new… The other façade, which opens onto the park, is more promising.” “… At least it broadcasts, ‘Hey, come here. We’re big and new and shiny. This could be fun.’ Too bad it couldn’t also be a good-looking building.”

The interior: “Instead of this soaring, double-height atrium, the entire second story could have been used for art or cultural artifacts or whatever the hell this museum might want to install.” “The architects at Grimshaw have tied themselves in knots to express the idea of openness. That means lots of glass, high ceilings, few walls, and plenty of space unencumbered by, you know, art.” “And what’s with that idiotic space-eating twisty staircase? And the obligatory glass-skywalk thing?”

The programming: “I’ve got a lot of faith in Finkelpearl and his curators. In the next couple of weeks, they’ve got some performance restaging the United Nations, which sounds pretty great.”

And on the future: “Something great may unfurl in this next phase at this would-be great ‘art’ museum.”

A First Look at the Queens Museum’s World of Tomorrow [New York Magazine]

Photo by Queens Museum

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Tomorrow kicks off the Queens Museum Opening Weekend and Party; the museum debuted its renovated, expanded space to the press last week and now it is celebrating with the public. Here is the full schedule of events, which include an inauguration ceremony, guided fishing trips through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, open studios and artist performances. The Museum is also debuting five inaugural exhibitions alongside the famous Panorama of the City of New York. All these celebrations conclude a two-year, $69,000,000 renovation that features 50,000 more square feet, extra galleries, studios for resident artists and a new, gorgeous sky-lit atrium.

Queens Museum Celebrates Renovation with Art, Music, Dance, Tours and Fishing [Q’Stoner]

Photo via Facebook

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With speeches by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall and Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl (above), Queens Museum officially re-opened yesterday after a multi-year, $68 million renovation that doubled its exhibition space and added an atrium with a chandelierlike glass hanging, bookstore and cafe. The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park institution also announced its new name — Queens Museum — without the tailing “of Art” that it had had since its founding. Now the fun starts with Target Wide Open Weekend, featuring special celebrations and inaugural exhibitions. On November 9th, Queens International 2013 artist Vlada Tomova’s Bulgarian Women’s Choir will start things off, followed by Lynley Bernstein’s Come Fish for Snakehead, a 2.5-hour guided fishing trip in park waterways; and the Poets in the Galleries: Tan Lin series, which utilizes the museum’s exhibition space as an invigorating site for exploration, interactive readings and discussions. At 3 pm, the museum will launch An Inclusive World, a group show examining how art transforms the lives of those with a wide array of needs and abilities. The day will continue with Joseph Heathcott’s Brooklyn-Queens Borderlands Virtual Walking Tour on the Panorama; Matthew Volz’s Meanwhile Back in Queens…, a live concert; Llego FeFa 4. Rosa de los Vientos, a performance by Magdalena Maria Campos-Pons and Neil Leonard celebrating the the opening of Citizens of the World: Cuba in Queens; Fujui Wang’s Hyper Transmission New York, a site-specific sound performance capturing locally sampled electromagnetic waves rendered in a specially devised directional speaker; and Joro Boro’s Smuggle Party, a participatory DJ performance mashing up collected tunes from museum visitors’ MP3 players. There are more activities on November 10th and November 11th and other special events throughout November. Click through to see another picture from the event yesterday…

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We checked up on the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, just before its opening celebration on Saturday, November 9th. The space is undergoing a $68,000,000 renovation and expansion which includes new galleries, artists studio, event spaces and a grand total of 105,000 square feet. Pictured above, the entryway facing Grand Central Parkway. Grimshaw Architects totally redesigned the facade; once it’s complete it will be illuminated and very glassy. (See a rendering here.) Grimshaw designed a second new entrance, complete with an expanded outdoor space, on the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park side of the structure. This entrance will serve as a direct entry to and from the park, allowing visitors easy access to both the surrounding green space and the museum itself. Both entrances will be connected by a new, skylit atrium. Click through for lots more exterior shots, including the progress on the entrance facing the park.

The Queens Museum Sets Opening Date [Q’Stoner]

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The Queens Museum announced the date for its reopening celebration: Saturday, November 9th. The museum will unveil its $68,000,000 expansion, which includes new galleries, artists studios and event spaces, as well as kick off a month of special programming. Check out the exciting schedule right here — it includes an inauguration by the New York Bulgarian Women’s A capella Choir, brand new art exhibits, a two and a half-hour guided fishing trip through Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and open studio hours. Can’t wait!