Now you can say 'cheese' in New York's Museum of Pizza

In New York, a pop-up museum entices young people through its door with a focus on pizza and opportunities to take selfies. The space houses a wide variety of art, from pizza sculptures to giant photographs, and leaves its visitors delighted – and likely very hungry. 

Bebeto Matthws/AP/File
The Museum of Pizza in New York features a pizza box playroom created with neon lights and colorful fluorescent tape.

There is now a museum for pizza lovers everywhere that's popped-up in arguably America's pizza capital, New York City.

The Museum of Pizza is dedicated to all things cheese and sauce, but there's more to it than meets the tongue.

"It's often that the simplest ideas are the best. And we wanted to use pizza's ubiquitous appeal to get people through the door and looking at art and hearing about history in a different format," said Alexandra Serio, Chief Content Officer at Nameless Network, the group that baked the Museum of Pizza idea.

"Our approach to this Museum of Pizza is a fine art approach, so we went out to multiple artists contemporary in many mediums, and asked them for their interpretation of pizza," said Ms. Serio. "And what we got back is – it ranges the gambit, let's just say that. That's an understatement."

Located on the street level of Brooklyn's William Vale hotel, the museum is an expansive, one-floor space that houses a wide variety of art, from giant photographs to sculptures to large installations that engulf visitors. And the pop-up museum, also known as "MoPi," has already drawn a lot of interest – more than 6,000 people came through the doors when they opened this month.

Another instantly recognizable attribute of the space is the bright colors that are weaved throughout the exhibits – perfect for taking social media-ready pictures.

"Honestly, I thought it would be like more of a museum like at the beginning, with the pizza boxes, and it kinda tells you when it was developed and stuff like that," said Nene Raye, visiting from New Jersey. "Then I was kinda hoping they had something artsy in it because I love taking pictures. So this is a mashup of everything, so you get a little bit of education and then some fun, which I love."

Serio said selfie-friendly exhibits are becoming a priority for museums as they try to get younger legs to walk through their doors.

"It's a kind of paradigm shift with museums," she said. "You'll see, I think in the next few years because of museums like the Museum of Ice Cream, and multiple pop-ups of this ilk, museums kind of courting a younger audience and seeing how they can make their exhibitions more tactile, touch, and photography friendly."

Lydia Melendez, a self-described "pizza aficionado," bought her tickets in April. For her, this experience was worth the wait.

"I thought it was going to be kinda boring, like I'm going to walk in and there's just going to be a book about pizza and how to make it. But this is definitely one for the books."

While pizza may be the hook that draws those interested to the museum, the focus of MoPi is to expose visitors to the fine art world, even if the education is fed one slice at a time.

"The Museum of Pizza's target demographic isn't necessarily the same type of people that are making a quarterly trips to the MoMA or the Frick collection or the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)," said Serio. "We're really putting fine art in a place that's easily accessible for a wide range of people."

The pop-up museum, which costs $35 for adults but is free for kids under 5 and seniors, closes Nov. 18.

This story was reported by the Associated Press.

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