Cronocaos by OMA / Rem Koolhaas

New Museum, New York / USA

April 28, 2011

Show to Be Among Highlights of the Festival of Ideas for the New City on May 7

The New Museum is pleased to present “Cronocaos,” an exhibition about the increasingly urgent topic of preservation in architecture and urbanism, by OMA / Rem Koolhaas and the New Museum and sponsored by American Express. First presented at the 2010 Venice Biennale, at the invitation of Kazuyo Sejima, Commissioner, this exhibition will be a signature project for the Festival of Ideas for the New City, taking place in venues all across Downtown Manhattan from May 4 through 8, 2011. A first for New York, the Festival will harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore the ideas destined to shape it. The Festival is organized around three central programs: a three-day conference of symposia; an innovative StreetFest along the Bowery; and hundreds of independent exhibitions, projects, and public events.

“Cronocaos” will open to the public on May 7 and remain on view through June 5. The exhibition will take place at the New Museum’s 3,600-square-foot, partially renovated, ground-floor space at 231 Bowery.

“Cronocaos” examines the growing “empire” of preservation and analyzes the consequences of these regimes for how we build, rebuild, and how we remember. Twelve percent of the planet now falls under various systems of natural and cultural preservation. “Through our respect for the past, heritage is becoming more and more the dominant metaphor for our lives today—a situation we call Cronocaos,” said Rem Koolhaas. “We are trying to find what the future of our memory will look like. Our obsession with heritage is creating an artificial re-engineered version of our memory.” Lacking a set of coherent strategies or policies and generally not engaged by architects and designers, preservation is an under-examined topic, but increasingly relevant as we enter an age of “Cronocaos,” in which the boundaries between preservation, construction, and demolition collapse, forever changing the course of linear evolution of time.

“Cronocaos” will include historic objects and photographs; analysis of the rapid growth of preserved urban and natural territories; and a timeline of OMA projects that have confronted the issue of preservation over thirty-five years of practice, including the 2001 proposed extension to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the curatorial master plan for The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Each project within the OMA timeline will take the form of a postcard for visitors to peel off the wall and take home. By the end of the exhibition, preservation and depletion will be evident in the exhibition itself. Reflecting the exhibition’s themes, the former restaurant-supply space will be visually transformed into two very different areas: one side will remain “preserved” as it was while inhabited by the restaurant supply store; the other will be minimally renovated.

Visitors may purchase admission tickets for “Cronocaos” at the Visitor Services desk at the New Museum, at 235 Bowery. For more information on “Cronocaos” visit For a full schedule of events for the Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 4–8, visit

Funding for the Festival of Ideas for the New City
The Festival of Ideas for the New City is made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David and Hermine Heller. Lead Sponsor: Audi Urban Future Initiative. Lead Supporter: The Rockefeller Foundation. Producing Sponsors: American Express, Brookfield, and Lonti Ebers. Supporting Sponsors: Virginia D. Lebermann and John S. Wotowicz, and Toby Devan Lewis. Special thanks to our Media Partner New York magazine. In kind donors: The Bowery Hotel and Droga5.