The Museum of Modern Art has been somewhat of a New York staple since its inception in 1929. According to its mission statement, the MoMA “reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of modern and contemporary art.” Almost a hundred years after its establishment, and for the past four years, the museum has been getting ready for a $450 million dollar expansion, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler.
The completed work was finally ready to be shown off at the end of October 2019.
The “new MoMA” has added 40,000 additional square feet of gallery space in Manhattan. In addition to the new gallery space, the renovation includes a creativity lab, re-installations of the collection galleries across three different floors, as well as an expansion of the ground floor—with an upgraded, open double-height lobby.
Museum representatives have shared that more than just a physical expansion, the new MoMA has rethought new and innovative ways of sharing art with its visitors. The entire collection has been reinstalled to “share exhilaratingly broad views of the art of our time in a way that is always evolving.”
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There are several new spaces that opened in the museum that serve the renovation’s mission to accommodate the evolving ways we view art in 2020. The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio is the new space for live and experimental programming. Through new commissions, festivals, and residencies, as well as presentations of landmark works from the collection, visitors can directly engage with artists and works in process and see pivotal and emerging works in dialogue. On the other hand, The Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab, which incubates “The People’s Studio” is an experimental space to explore ideas, questions, and art processes that arise from the collection and exhibitions. Visitors are welcome to drop in anytime to participate in lively conversations, engage with artists, make art, reflect and relax, and find suggestions for exploring the Museum. The creativity lab is currently hosting Wendy’s Subway’s Reading Room, a rotating collection of publications for visitors to use. Developed specifically with works of art currently on view in mind, the Reading Room focuses on collective and collaborative practices of making and circulating independent publications.
In terms of its classical art offering, the curatorial team has reconfigured the collection’s display. The collection currently on view begins in 1890 and follows a chronological backbone. The earliest period housed in the museum is displayed on the fifth floor, visitors are invited to descend through the floors as they advance in the modern art timeline to present day while perusing gallery collections, including in the brand-new David Geffen Wing. Visitors will experience the pieces of art that are a part of the MoMA’s cornerstone collection paired with exciting and unfamiliar works.
While the new MoMA seems to have touched on many of its weak points with this new renovation, we couldn’t help but feel on a recent visit that the hefty renovation fee was a little overboard. But, after all, it remains one of the most important museums in New York City (if not the world) so we’ll make do with what we can!