New York Finally Gets a Zaha Hadid — Just Five Years After Cincinnati!

Zaha Hadid's Mobile Art pavilion. Photo: WireImage

It took a while, but we’ve almost caught up with Ohio’s third largest city. Zaha Hadid, the London-based architect whose swooshing, snaking structures and futuristic drawings earned her a Guggenheim Museum retrospective and a Pritzker Prize, will finally build something in New York, just five years after opening her Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Okay, so it’s not really a building — more of a prefabricated Mobile Art pavilion — and it will only be up for three weeks, but, hey, it’s a Zaha Hadid!

With their ramps and leaning walls and racer silhouettes, Hadid’s designs embody the romance of motion; not coincidentally, one of her major projects is a BMW factory in Germany. So it’s apt that she should announce herself here with a museum that’s stopping just long enough for a drink and a nibble before moving on. The 7,500-square-foot saucer alights in the middle of Central Park on October 20, courtesy of Chanel, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its classic quilted handbag by commissioning handbag-inspired art. The resulting exhibit is traveling around the world in its own portable gallery: a pouch for purses, you might say. The cynical notion that somehow the city is turning over its precious public space to a highbrow billboard is dispelled by the millions that the company is reportedly donating to the Central Park Conservancy and the Parks Department. Plus, who cares: It’s a Zaha Hadid! —Justin Davidson

Related: Chanel’s Mobile Art Exhibit Finds a New York Home [Cut]