MoMA Expansion News

Posted on January 13, 2014

The Museum of Modern Art’s Board of Trustees today 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. 

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 this year.

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.

Our vision for MoMA’s next phase will be completed over the coming years, and I look forward to updating you on our progress.

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