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MoMA Gets Momentum With a 4-Month Closure For Its Major Redo, Plus $200 Million Gift from David Rockefeller Estate

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • February 06, 2019

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Rendering for the expanded MoMA
Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Museum of Modern Art announced this week that MoMA will close on June 15 and then open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art. The institution will also develop a partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem. Topping it off, MoMA received a $200 million gift of unrestricted funds from the David Rockefeller estate.

The expansion, developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces and enables the Museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways. The Studio in the heart of the Museum will feature live programming and performances that react to, question, and challenge histories of modern art and the current cultural moment. An innovative second-floor Platform for education will invite visitors to connect with art that explores new ideas about the present, past, and future. Street-level galleries, free and open to all on the expanded ground floor, will better connect the Museum to New York City and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan.

The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA PS1 (which remains open while MoMA is closed) also unveiled plans for an exciting multi-year partnership building on the institutions’ existing affiliations and shared values. The wide-ranging collaboration encompasses exhibitions and programming at both The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 during the Studio Museum’s construction of a new facility on the site of their longtime home on West 125th Street. The Studio Museum at MoMA, as it will be known, will open with an exhibition of the work of Kenyan-born artist Michael Armitage.

MoMA also announced that it has received more than $200 million of unrestricted funds from the estate of David Rockefeller (1915-2017). This gift joins his record-breaking pledge of $100 million in 2005, bringing the total lifetime giving to over $300 million.

This contribution complements the numerous masterworks of modern painting, drawings, and prints Mr. Rockefeller and his wife Peggy gave to the Museum throughout their lifetime, through donations, promised gifts, and funds for purchase. Highlights include paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Paul Cezanne, André Derain, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Signac, as well as works of Latin American and contemporary American art. Works from the Rockefeller collection, including many promised gifts, were exhibited in the 1994 exhibition "Masterpieces from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: Manet to Picasso" and in the summer of 2017 in the Museum’s fifth-floor collection galleries.

Inspired by Mr. Rockefeller’s truly exceptional generosity, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the Museum’s directorship in recognition of his legacy of support.

“It is my great honor to serve as the first David Rockefeller Director of The Museum of Modern Art,” said Glenn D. Lowry. “As we look ahead to our exciting future and the opening of the new MoMA in October 2019, it’s an energizing and fitting tribute to celebrate David’s vision and passion for the Museum’s mission and its collection.”

Born in 1915 in New York City, David Rockefeller was the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, a founder of The Museum of Modern Art.

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