Reposted from SEP 28, 2016
SoHo has long been known for its art galleries, but did you know that Broadway was once home to three major art museums, all on the same block, between Houston and Prince Street?
In 1983, The New Museum moved from The New School to SoHo and occupied two and a half floors of the Astor Building at 583 Broadway, the building’s first tenant under new owners who were in the process of converting the rest of the building into a commercial condominium. As New York City’s only museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art, its shows addressed contemporary issues such as AIDS and homelessness. The museum moved temporarily to Chelsea in 2001 before moving to its new location on Bowery. The building is currently home to the store Under Armour.
The Guggenheim Museum opened its SoHo branch, designed by architect Arata Isozaki and located at 575 Broadway at the corner of Prince, in 1992. During its decade on Broadway, it exhibited the work of major artists including Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Although the museum presented the work of internationally renowned artists, its overall attendance was lower than expected. The museum closed in 2001 for renovation and closed permanently in 2002. The space is currently occupied by the Prada flagship store.
The Museum for African Art moved from the Upper East Side to 593 Broadway in 1993. Its shows featured modern and traditional African art in subdued galleries on two floors designed by Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. In 2002 the museum relocated to Long Island City. The building now houses half of a Victoria’s Secret store that extends into the adjoining building.
There are currently several museums in SoHo, albeit not on Broadway: The Drawing Center, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Judd Foundation, and the Center for Italian Modern Art, to name a few. For a list of arts organization in SoHo, visit the SoHo Arts Network website.