Sep 17, 2020
As museums in New York and around the world begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brand-new museum is facing the challenge of its grand reopening in the competitive New York City art and culture world. We welcome to the B&H Photography Podcast the inaugural Director of Exhibitions of Fotografiska, Amanda Hajjar, to discuss the unique model of this for-profit arts center and their plans to make a mark on the photography scene in New York. After opening in December 2019, Fotografiska New York was forced to close after just ninety days, and of course, we will also ask Hajjar how they handled the quarantine disruption and are adjusting to the new protocols placed on museums.
Fotografiska New York is the third of three like-named museums, with more scheduled to open around the world. The original began in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010 and adopted a different paradigm than the traditional museum—it displays a wide range of photography styles, it has no permanent collection, and it works with the artists themselves to design the exhibitions. It also relies on admission sales as well as café, restaurant, and special event business to generate income. It created much buzz in the months before opening in New York, and its initial reviews were positive, for both its events and photo exhibition programming.
We speak with Hajjar about their exhibition philosophy and how their model facilitates an institution able to react to and comment on current social issues as well as examine relevant images from the past. We discuss their attempt to create a hybrid between gallery and museum and shine a light on their current exhibitions, including works by Cooper & Gorfer and by Martin Schoeller. Finally, we get to the bottom of what the word Fotografiska really means. Join us for this enjoyable conversation.
Guest: Amanda Hajjar
Photograph: Courtesy Fotografiska