NYC Art Institutions Close Amid Air Pollution Concerns

Several art museums and cultural institutions in New York have closed their doors and barred off outdoor sections as record-breaking air quality alerts hit the northeast. A cloud of thick yellow smoke has blanketed New England and the tri-state area as a result of the uncontrolled wildfires ripping through the Canadian forests from coast-to-coast this week. Yesterday evening, NYC reported among the worst air quality of any major city in the world; residents are urged to wear masks and limit outdoor activities.

The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens, will be closed today, June 7, for the remainder of the afternoon. The outdoor Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens has also closed as of 3:30pm, citing air quality concerns. BRIC issued a cancelation notice for the opening night of its annual Celebrate Brooklyn! festival, and UrbanGlass shuttered its Downtown Brooklyn facilities. Additionally, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the National Academy of Design both shared that they had closed to the public. Notably, the city’s three library systems — the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library — all announced early closures today.

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Some outdoor art venues are partially closing out of concern for the poor air quality. The 9/11 Museum will remain open to visitors, but its Memorial will shutter to the public. The High Line in Chelsea announced via Twitter that while the section from Gansevoort Street to 23rd Street is still open, the stretch from 23rd Street to 30th Street has been closed.

Some galleries have also made the decision to close early. In Manhattan, Kate Werble Gallery postponed the opening of its group exhibition Synth to June 15. “My summer opening will use my gallery’s outdoor space, and I want to be sure the air quality is good enough for everyone to enjoy being outside and feel comfortable attending,” Werble told Hyperallergic via email.

Outside of New York City, the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor announced its closure via Twitter, advising ticket holders to look out for an email pertaining to rescheduling in the near future. Meanwhile, social media is flooded with dystopian photographs of hazy, tangerine-orange skies captured from people’s windows.

This list will be updated as Hyperallergic learns of additional closures. Please check back for new information.


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