MoMA Unveils Its $450 Million Expansion

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • October 15, 2019

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Tarsila do Amaral (Brazilian, 1886-1973). The Moon (A Lua). 1928. Oil on canvas, 43 1/3 x 43 1/3 in. (110 x 110 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase.

Van Gogh's Starry Night, Wyeth's Christina's World, Monet's Water-Lilies ... collection favorites will still be on view when MoMA opens its latest expansion to the public next Monday.

With 47,000 sq. feet of new gallery space, situated on the former site of the relocated American Folk Art Museum in Midtown Manhattan, multilayers of art will be added, rotated, and mixed in with MoMA's most iconic modern pieces. 

Expect to see more women artists, "lesser-knowns," and multiculturism, and not necessarily arranged in chronological order or by medium. One starting point: Faith Ringgold's violent large-scale work American People Series #20: Die (1967) hung across from Pablo Picasso's fractured nude quintet Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). This unexpected pairing is one example of "curatorial genius," writes New York Times critic Holland Cotter.

From MoMA:

The Museum of Modern Art will open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art.

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 Creativity Lab 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.

Installation view of Downtown New York (Gallery 202) The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: John Wronn

MoMA’s 2019 opening collection presentation highlights the creative affinities and frictions produced by displaying painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, media, performance, film, and works on paper together. Conceived and installed by cross-departmental teams of curators at all levels of seniority, the presentation foregrounds complex relationships among works of art and leverages the new architecture to encourage many possible routes through the galleries. A new curatorial generation will continually renew the experience of the museum through installations and exhibitions, artist commissions, and programs that encourage debate and discovery.

Installation view of Action Painting I (gallery 403), The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp

The fifth-, fourth-, and second-floor collection galleries, including the new David Geffen Wing with over 30,000 square feet of new gallery space, offer a deeper experience of art through all mediums and by artists from more diverse geographies and backgrounds than ever before. A general chronological spine unites the three floors and serves as a touchstone of continuity for visitors. Individual galleries, some of which will be medium-specific, delve into presentations of art and ideas that only MoMA’s collection can offer.

Recognizing that there is no single or complete history of modern and contemporary art, the museum will systematically rotate and reinstall one-third of these collection galleries every six months. By 2021, MoMA will have re-choreographed each of its galleries across the fifth, fourth, and second floors—and will constantly renew the presentation.

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