New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, the only institution of its kind in the U.S., will unveil its redesigned and expanded building to the public on January 15, 2011. In anticipation of its reopening, the Museum held a luncheon on New York’s Upper East Side today to report on their progress.

Rochelle Slovin, Director of the Museum, was on hand to explain the reasons for the renovations and to introduce Thomas Leeser, the architect behind the new additions. Slovin said she went into the Museum’s reinvention with four goals in mind. First, to double capacity. Second, to expand the spaces for screenings. Third, to add storage space so that the Museum’s entire collection can rest within the building’s walls, and not in rented facilities elsewhere. And finally, to add pizazz to the space as a whole. It is a museum dedicated to the most glamorous of art forms after all.

Judging from the presentation made by Slovin, Leeser and the Museum’s chief curator David Schwartz, all the goals will soon be realized come early next year. To do so, the Museum — based in Queens, New York — is undergoing a complete redesign of its ground floor, plus construction of a three-story addition and Courtyard Garden. Combined, the additions will almost double the size of the existing building, from 50,000 to 97,000 square feet. Leeser revealed that a stunning, state of the art 264-seat theater will serve as the ‘heart’ of the Museum, and a smaller, more intimate 68-seat screening room will screen more alternative fare down the hall on the main floor.

A design of the new 264-seat theater. [Image courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image]

The Museum’s freshly jazzed redo will be discernible to guests right upon entering the renovated building. A relocated and redesigned entrance on 35 Avenue will present visitors with a portal of mirrored and transparent glass. Leeser referred to the new translucent entrance as a “silver screen,” which is fitting given the nature of the Museum. That aesthetic will also feature in the new rear facade of the Museum, which will be comprised of surface pattern of triangles, made out of 1,067 thin aluminum panels. Light blue in color, the panels will change color depending on the outside light.

And now on to what will going on inside the newly refurbished walls of the Museum when it reopens its doors. Their inaugural exhibition, Real Virtuality, will run from January 15 to June 12, 2011. Billed as a show of “five boundary-blurring experiments in art and interactive digital technology,” the event will feature installations that use technologies originally developed in the field of digital entertainment to create an all immersive experience for viewers.

A six-week film series titled Celebrating the Moving Image (January 15-February 20, 2011) will serve as the kickoff series for the two new theaters. The varied program will screen 30 newly restored feature films from the world’s leading film archives and institutions.

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