MoMA to demolish Folk Art Museum despite opposition

 Museum goers wait in line to get into the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art, which reopened on W. 53rd St. after being closed for two years.

Craig Warga

Art patrons wait in line to get into the Museum of Modern Art after it had been closed for two years — and its obvious popularity is likely why MoMA wants to expand at the expense of the American Folk Art Museum building.

The Museum of Modern Art has told the little museum next door to “folk off.”

The behemoth arts institution in New York has decided to go ahead with the demolition of the former American Folk Art Museum — which sits on a neighboring lot on West 53rd St. — so that it may yet again expand, adding another 100,500 square feet to the sprawling arts complex.

The American Folk Art Museum building — now slated  for the wrecking ball — was celebrated as a daring work of contemporary architecture by local designers Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, with its bent and beaten copper exterior that itself is sculpture.

Thomas Monaster

The American Folk Art Museum building — now slated  for the wrecking ball — was celebrated as a daring work of contemporary architecture by local designers Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, with its bent and beaten copper exterior that itself is sculpture.

RELATED: MOMA TO INTRODUCE PERMANENT VIDEO GAME COLLECTION

The Folk Art Museum, which opened in 2001 — three years before MoMA’s most recent expansion — was celebrated as a daring work of contemporary architecture by local designers Todd Williams and Billie Tsien. Its bent and beaten copper exterior is itself a sculpture.

The Museum of Modern Art debuted its renovations to hundreds of visitors in November 2004, three years after the American Folk Museum structure opened next door.

GREGORY BULL/AP

The Museum of Modern Art debuted its renovations to hundreds of visitors in November 2004, three years after the American Folk Museum structure opened next door.

That MoMA, with the first and largest architecture and design collections in the world, wants to destroy its notable neighbor has enraged architects, critics and preservationists.

RELATED: MOMA SUED OVER HITLER FOE’S PAINTINGS

A concept sketch of the Sculpture Garden entrance for the Museum of Modern Art's expansion, which will come at the cost of the American Folk Art Museum building next door.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

A concept sketch of the Sculpture Garden entrance for the Museum of Modern Art’s expansion, which will come at the cost of the American Folk Art Museum building next door.

MoMA bought the Folk Art Museum in 2011, after the museum defaulted on $ 32 million in loans that were taken on to erect the new building that’s now being dismantled.

MoMA hired noted High Line and Lincoln Center architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in April to study whether the museum could be saved. A six-month review determined the smaller building could not be integrated into its neighbor.

Plans for the Museum of Modern Art's expansion show where MoMA will encroach on land currently occupied by the American Folk Art Museum structure.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Plans for the Museum of Modern Art’s expansion show where MoMA will encroach on land currently occupied by the American Folk Art Museum structure.

RELATED: FACELIFT FOR QUEENS MUSEUM

In the end, Diller Scofidio + Renfro was rewarded the contract for the expansion, which includes three-story white-box entrances with room for hosting massive sculptures. The entire ground floor will become open to the public, with a 30% increase in gallery space on the floors above.

Larger ground floor space for the public, shown in this concept sketch, is one reason the Museum of Modern Art is expanding at the expense of the American Folk Art Museum building.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Larger ground floor space for the public, shown in this concept sketch, is one reason the Museum of Modern Art is expanding at the expense of the American Folk Art Museum building.

The expansion connects with a 1,000-foot condo tower being built on the western end of the block, which will house five floors of galleries inside.

“The analysis that we undertook was lengthy and rigorous, and ultimately led us to the determination that creating a new building on the site of the former American Folk Art Museum is the only way to achieve a fully integrated campus,” MoMA director Glenn Lowry wrote in a public letter.

Opponents remain unimpressed. Pullitzer Prize winning critic Paul Goldberger called MoMA’s decision “a fatal mistake.”

“A large cultural institution that cannot find a suitable use for such a building is an institution with a flawed architectural imagination,” he wrote on VanityFair.com.


Music & Arts – NY Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>