As part of its ongoing plans to renovate and expand its building, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will reconfigure its third floor, which currently houses its Architecture and Design, Photography, and Drawings galleries — a move that may drastically reduce the number of rooms in the museum devoted to specific media. During this renovation period, only the Philip Johnson galleries, which currently house the Japanese Constellation exhibition, will remain open, while the Robert Menschel Galleries for Architecture and Design will be inaccessible — and have been since last month, after the run of Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House.
Located on the museum’s south end, the Menschel Galleries include the Drawings, Photography, and Architecture galleries, as well as a Special Exhibitions gallery. Works from those spaces “will be on view in a variety of installations from the collection that are interspersed and integrated throughout the Museum, including the current From the Collection: 1960-1969, currently on view on the 4th floor,” MoMA said in a statement sent to Hyperallergic. The Menschel Galleries will reopen in early 2017 as two larger spaces of 5,000 and 10,000 square feet, but it is unclear how curators will program them.
“We are excited about the possibilities for presenting the collection when the expansion is complete, and our curators are engaged in an ongoing conversation in that regard,” the museum’s statement said. “It is too soon, however, to describe exactly what our approach to the collection will be.”
William Menking of the Architect’s Newspaper notes that this merging of various media in displays is apparently a trend in the museum world, citing Tate Modern as “doing this for many years.” We’ll see how MoMA ends up presenting its collections, but it would be a shame if it only placed its objects into more general art historical contexts — especially if doing so means dispersing the world’s first museum department devoted to architecture and design.
The museum has not yet unveiled the full design of its current expansion, which is designed by architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. and slated to cost at least $390 million.
Update, 4/25: Martino Stierli, MoMA’s Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, has issued the following statement regarding the renovations:
Recently, a number of articles and commentaries in the architectural press and on social media have suggested that The Museum of Modern Art will no longer have any exhibition spaces for works from its Architecture and Design Department, and that our rich collection will no longer be on view. This is absolutely not true.
In terms of the next iteration of MoMA, still several years away, my fellow chief curators and I are studying the opportunities that the expansion, with approximately 50,000 more square feet for exhibitions and the collection and a 30% increase in gallery space for the collection, offers. We are fully committed to presenting our rich collection in a way that will do justice to the specific needs of each medium, including architecture and design, while making visible the many meaningful connections among the arts. It is a strategy that we think of as “both/and” – we want both medium-dedicated galleries and more broadly comprehensive ones, and we are dedicated to achieving this. There is no change of policy in this regard, and the abolishing of architecture and design-designated galleries is not and has never been an issue under consideration.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.
Haggerty Museum of Art Presents Tomás Saraceno in Dialogue With Dr. Somesh Roy
The artist and researcher will explore soot’s effects on climate change and public health in this online conversation.
Hundreds of Artworks by NYC Teenagers Go on View at the Met
The talented seventh through twelfth-grade students are recipients of the 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
NYC’s Flatiron Building Sells for a Whopping $190M
The sale to outsider bidder Jacob Garlick puts an end to the protracted legal battle between the iconic skyscraper’s five former owners.
McKnight Visual Artist Fellows Discussion Series at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The series features 2021 Fellows David Bowen, Mara Duvra, Rotem Tamir, Ben Moren, and Dyani White Hawk in conversation with renowned curators and critics.
The Best Memes Roasting the “We ❤️ NYC” Campaign
A graphic designer on Twitter created a hilarious send-up of the universally reviled logo, and the rest is history.
Did You Know These Museums Were Free for New Yorkers?
The “Free Admission” campaign is advocating to make ticket pricing information more transparent to visitors, who may be confused or misled by institutions’ language.