Renovation plans force MoMA to close for four months over summer

As the Museum of Modern Art enters the final stage of its $400 million (£308,470,000) renovation, it was announced this week that the museum will completely close from 15th June to 21st October 2019.

MoMA’s controversial plans involve a major reconfiguration of the gallery spaces and an impressive 40,000 square foot extension. This additional space was gained from the acquisition and demolition of the American Folk Art Museum, which stood next door.

The curatorial team are also rehanging the whole collection with a focus on mixing media within gallery spaces. Painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, performance, film and works on paper will be juxtaposed in diversified displays.

Glenn D. Lowry, director, remarked “a new generation of curators is discovering the richness of what is in our collection, and there is great work being made around the world that we need to pay attention to.”

By rethinking the story of modern and contemporary art, MoMA’s new galleries aim to shine a light on works by less familiar and more diverse artists. Women, Latinos, Asians, African-Americans and other overlooked artists are receiving special focus by curators. The museum reopens in October with a survey of Latin American art and with exhibitions by two African-American artists: performance artist Pope L. and collage artist Betye Saar.

MoMA’s chairman, Leon Black, while commenting on the inclusivity of artists, stated “where those were always the exceptions, now they really should be part of the reality of the multicultural society we all live in.”

The renovation is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler and will see the museum close during its busiest time of the year. Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president and chief executive, believes MoMA’s closure will not cause any overwhelming financial decline to New York’s tourism industry. He insisted, “because so much will be on offer this year, we don’t anticipate seeing any negative tourism impact.”

Visitors will find the galleries completely unrecognisable when the museum reopens in October. With accessibility and diversity at the heart of MoMA’s image re-brand, Lowry commented “it means that the usual gets supplanted now by the unexpected” and “at any given moment there will be something new to see.”

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