Given that New York City buildings have climbed to an average height of 38 stories since the turn of the 20th century, it shouldn’t be a surprise that New Yorkers are making use of every bit of available space. Enter Alex Kalman, whose five-foot-by-four-foot museum, dubbed Mmuseumm 2, opened this past Saturday in TriBeCa.
Expanded into a window display next to the freight elevator occupied by its first incarnation, Mmuseumm, Mmuseumm 2’s current exhibition is the brain child of artist Maira Kalman, who created the space in an exact replica of her mother Sara Berman’s West Village apartment closet. In an effort to “look at humanity through objects,” as Kalman’s son, Alex, told the New York Times, Mmuseumm 1 included an eclectic array of mismatched objects, from painted styrofoam to homemade gas masks.
The place is definitely a quirky find. Berman’s old coats and shoes line the inside of Mmuseumm 2, effecting a cramped yet organized closet space that The Times describes as “representing a universal need to create order.” Visitors are offered an audio tour narrated by a female voice in a British accent that’s “on but slightly off, like the name.”
Except for the fact that Mmuseumm 2 is slightly smaller than Berman’s original closet, it’s otherwise a painstakingly constructed recreation. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm, Mmuseumms 1 and 2 form a self-described “modern natural history museum devoted to the curation and exhibition of contemporary artifacts that illustrate the complexities of the modern world.”
High hopes, for 20 square feet. But then again, anything is possible in this town.