Marc-Olivier Wahler, who took up the reins as the director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (Broad MSU) in East Lansing last year, discussed a very unusual type of museum visitor at a press conference in New York last week: birds. The museum plans to partner with ten top architects this year to design and build birdhouses on the grounds of the museum and in the surrounding community, aiming to continue the project with a total of 50 architects over the next five years. The various species of migratory birds that pass through Michigan—many of which are now endangered due to climate change, habitat loss and pollution—are the intended (part-time) residents of these designer dwellings.
The museum’s plans for its human visitors include Wahler’s début exhibition as director, The Transported Man (29 April-22 October 2017), which will feature works by 50 contemporary artists—including as Ugo Rondinone, Ryan Gander and Fernando Ortega—that question perception and belief. Wahler also hopes that the Broad MSU will expand in the future to have more space for exhibitions and education, emphasising the value of facilities where “students can learn from real works of art rather than images on a screen or textbook”, and has his sights set on existing spaces within walking distance of the museum.