New York City’s Pizza Mu­seum serves pa­trons de­li­cious his­tory

Yuma Sun - - DESERT LIFE -

NEW YORK — There is now a mu­seum for pizza lovers ev­ery­where that’s popped-up in ar­guably Amer­ica’s pizza cap­i­tal, New York City.

The Mu­seum of Pizza is ded­i­cated to all things cheese and sauce, but there’s more to it than meets the tongue.

“It’s of­ten that the sim­plest ideas are the best. And we wanted to use pizza’s ubiq­ui­tous ap­peal to get peo­ple through the door and look­ing at art and hear­ing about his­tory in a dif­fer­ent for­mat,” said Alexan­dra Se­rio, Chief Con­tent Of­fi­cer at Name­less Net­work, the group that baked the Mu­seum of Pizza idea.

“Our ap­proach to this Mu­seum of Pizza is a fine art ap­proach, so we went out to mul­ti­ple artists con­tem­po­rary in many medi­ums, and asked them for their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of pizza,” said Se­rio. “And what we got back is — it ranges the gam­bit, let’s just say that. That’s an un­der­state­ment.”

Lo­cated on the street level of Brook­lyn’s Wil­liam Vale ho­tel, the mu­seum is an ex­pan­sive, one-floor space that houses a wide va­ri­ety of art, from gi­ant pho­to­graphs to sculp­tures to large in­stal­la­tions that en­gulf vis­i­tors. And the pop-up mu­seum, also known as “MoPi,” has al­ready drawn a lot of in­ter­est--more than 6,000 peo­ple came through the doors when they opened this month.

An­other in­stantly rec­og­niz­able at­tribute of the space is the bright colors that are weaved through­out the ex­hibits--per­fect for tak­ing so­cial me­di­aready pic­tures.

“Hon­estly, I thought it would be like more of a mu­seum like at the be­gin­ning, with the pizza boxes and it kinda tells you when it was de­vel­oped and stuff like that,” said Nene Raye, vis­it­ing from New Jersey. “Then I was kinda hop­ing they had some­thing artsy in it be­cause I love tak­ing pic­tures. So this is a mashup of ev­ery­thing — so you get a lit­tle bit of ed­u­ca­tion and then some fun, which I love.”

Se­rio said selfie-friendly ex­hibits are be­com­ing a pri­or­ity for mu­se­ums as they try to get younger legs to walk through their doors.

“It’s a kind of paradigm shift with mu­se­ums,” she said. “You’ll see, I think in the next few years be­cause of mu­se­ums like the Mu­seum of Ice Cream, and mul­ti­ple pop-ups of this ilk, mu­se­ums kind of court­ing a younger au­di­ence and see­ing how they can make their ex­hi­bi­tions more tac­tile, touch and pho­tog­ra­phy friendly.”

Ly­dia Me­len­dez, a self­de­scribed “pizza afi­cionado,” bought her tick­ets in April. For her, this ex­pe­ri­ence was worth the wait.

“I thought it was go­ing to be kinda bor­ing, like I’m go­ing to walk in and there’s just go­ing to be a book about pizza and how to make it. But this is def­i­nitely one for the books.”

While pizza may be the hook that draws those in­ter­ested to the mu­seum, the fo­cus of MoPi is to ex­pose vis­i­tors to the fine art world — even if the ed­u­ca­tion is fed one slice at a time.

“The Mu­seum of Pizza’s tar­get de­mo­graphic isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the same type of peo­ple that are mak­ing a quar­terly trips to the MoMA or the Frick col­lec­tion or the LACMA (Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum of Art),” said Se­rio. “We’re re­ally putting fine art in a place that’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for a wide range of peo­ple.”

The pop-up mu­seum, which costs $35 for adults but is free for kids un­der 5 and se­niors, closes Nov. 18.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

THIS NOV. 2 PHOTO SHOWS A TEX­TILE SCULP­TURE from artist Hein Koh called “Mys­tic Pizza,” part of a group art ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing pizza at The Mu­seum of Pizza in New York.

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