|Should you go?|
|Time spent||11 minutes|
|Best thing I saw or learned||The building’s stained glass is a treasure of nautical and celestial themes.|
The Newhouse Center is a challenge to review. Like its neighbor the Noble Maritime Collection, its name creates a very wrong impression. You think gallery, permanent collection, and with a name like Newhouse, it’s probably good stuff. No, wrong, and not quite.
The Newhouse Center occupies an extraordinary building in Staten Island’s Snug Harbor complex (formerly a home for retired sailors). But it’s mostly vacant, largely unrenovated, and, at least the day I visited, way overheated.
There was one show going on of four contemporary artists showing thirteen pieces on the theme of “DNA of Water.” Whatever that means. For sale, if anyone wanted to buy them. And an old exhibit on swing music way off in another wing of the building that looked like no one had ever bothered to take it down. Really not much to see.
But the building itself! Amazing! Gorgeous stained glass, beautiful old wood floors, period details galore, a long glassed in gallery connecting the main building with the one behind it. A huge open space in the middle with a painted, glass-domed ceiling high above. And I liked that it wasn’t super polished and renovated. It was rough around the edges in a very appealing, lived-in way.
If I had even a slight amount of confidence that other shows there might be better than this one, I’d encourage people to go. It could be a phenomenal place to see art. But contemporary art is out of place at Snug Harbor — I’m not sure you could attract the downtown Manhattan art crowd out to Staten Island for love or money. And it seems pretty evident that the Newhouse Center has a good name, but not much money. The best I can say is keep an eye on it–I sincerely hope they find a better use for the place someday. And when you visit the Noble Collection (as you should!) drop in to the Newhouse just to see the building.
|Address||1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island|
|Website||Newhouse Center at Snug Harbor|