Paul Allen May Open a Museum of Pop Culture in Washington, DC

The news comes weeks after rumors his Seattle art space would shutter.

Paul Allen at the premiere of Interstellar in 2014. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Paul Allen at the premiere of Interstellar in 2014. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

When you think of the nation’s capital, you probably don’t immediately think of pop culture, but Microsoft founder and uber-collector Paul Allen is reportedly looking to change that idea. The Washington Business Journal reports that he’s been shopping around DC for a 100,000 square-foot space to place his proposed Museum of Pop Culture.

Allen’s company, Vulcan, which has launched several cultural and philanthropic initiatives (including the well-attended Seattle Art Fair), has retained global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield to spearhead the search for an appropriate venue, which has apparently been in motion since July.

A spokesperson for Vulcan, however, denies having specific plans regarding D.C., telling artnet News via email: “While Vulcan is looking at the possibility of another culture-related institution, we have no current plans for a new museum in Washington, DC.”

The National Mall, where many of D.C.'s museums are located. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The National Mall, where many of D.C.’s museums are located.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The news comes just weeks after reports that Allen’s newly-opened Seattle art space, Pivot Art + Culture, had laid off its staff and is now grappling with what to do with the space. Rumors of the space’s imminent closure were called “pure speculation and inaccurate” by a Vulcan spokesperson in early February. A new exhibition, “Imagined Futures: Science Fiction, Art, and Artifacts from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection” is slated to open in early April.

Should his search remain fruitless, Allen wouldn’t be the first would-be museum developer to run into problems finding a venue in DC. Earlier this year, the proposed National LGBT Museum board of directors announced the institution was shifting its focus to New York after coming up empty handed in Washington.


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