Klaus Biesenbach’s Very Empty Nest in Manhattan



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Inside Klaus Biesenbach’s Minimalist Home

CreditSasha Arutyunova for The New York Times


Klaus Biesenbach

Age 50

Occupation Director, MoMA PS1; chief curator at large, the Museum of Modern Art

Location Midtown Manhattan

His Favorite Room Mr. Biesenbach lives in an all-white, 550-square-foot high-rise apartment that contains little more than a table, a bed, a couch and two or three chairs. His favorite feature is the view from his window, which he photographs every day and posts to Instagram for his #window23 project. “It’s a calming place because there aren’t many distractions,” he said. “That’s what makes the window so important. How can you compete with the world?”

You’re taking minimalism to a new level in here. I always was that sparse. I remember once I had a burglary, and I called the authorities and they said, “What was stolen?” They saw the place was completely empty. I said my disc player and my sneakers were stolen.

Given your job, I thought there’d be lots of wonderful art on the walls. I think art should be public. That’s why I work with institutions. I have it so much in my life that for me my home is a retreat.

Well, the gradations of blue clothes in your closet are kind of like a painting. It’s a basic set. It’s a way of saving time and making it easier. I have it for office, for studio. I wear it on the beach and in the mountains. But it doesn’t mean I’ll be wearing the same thing for 20 years. It’s not dogmatic or anything.

What led you to start taking pictures from your window? I started these pictures when I got my digital camera in 2003, 2004. Then when Instagram showed up, I started taking them for Instagram. The window for me is like a morning ritual. I was raised religiously. It’s an act of gratitude that the world is still there, that I’m still there.

Although you live alone, you do share your home with a living thing, I see. It’s a small jacaranda tree seedling. I respect plants as beings. I think it’s important to have a being near you.

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