MoMA Announces Expansion to Include the American Folk Art Museum
The Museum of Modern Art's Board of Trustees approved initial details of a major building
project that will expand the Museum's public spaces and galleries to provide greater public
accessibility and allow the Museum to reconceive the presentation of its collection and exhibitions.
Working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the renowned interdisciplinary studio based in New York City,
the Museum has developed a plan to integrate its current building with two sites to the west of the
Museum's midtown Manhattan campus into which it will expand: three floors of a residential tower
being developed by Hines, at 53 West 53rd Street; and the site of the former American Folk Art
Museum, at 45 West 53rd Street.
According to the NY Times, The Museum of Modern Art says it will preserve the panels that compose the facade of the former American Folk Art Museum. MoMA now says it will disassemble and store the 82-foot-high facade.
After a lengthy and rigorous analysis to determine if the former museum could be incorporated into
the expansion, we have concluded that MoMA's programmatic objectives could not be met without
severely impacting the original American Folk Art Museum building. The degree to which the
building would lose its identity, and the level of compromise to the MoMA program, made saving it
infeasible. Therefore, a new building will be constructed on the site of the former museum.
As a major component of the Museum's desire for greater public access and a more welcoming
street presence, the preliminary concepts approved today will transform the current lobby and
ground-floor areas into an expansive public gathering space, open to the public and spanning the
entire street level of the Museum, including The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. In
advance of these plans, the Museum will increase free public access to the Sculpture Garden later
The extension of MoMA's galleries to the west on its second, fourth, and fifth floors will add a
variety of spaces and allow the Museum to present an integrated display of its collection across all
disciplines-photography, architecture, design, film, media, prints, drawings, performance,
painting, and sculpture. These carefully choreographed sequences will highlight the creative
frictions and influences that spring from seeing these mediums together.
The expansion will add approximately 40,000 square feet of new galleries and public areas,
providing 30% more space for visitors to view the collection and special exhibitions. The additional
space will allow the Museum to show transformative acquisitions that have added new dimensions
and voices to its holdings, drawing from entire collections of contemporary drawings, Fluxus, and
Conceptual art; the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright; and major recent acquisitions by such artists as
Marcel Broodthaers, Lygia Clark, Steve McQueen, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mira
Schendel, Richard Serra, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Cy Twombly, among many others.