Endless House: Intersections of Art and Architecture (Jonathan Muzikar © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art)
MoMA didn’t make many friends in the architecture community when they razed the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed American Folk Art Museum to make way for their Diller Scofidio and Renfro-designed expansion, and now they might be even more alone on the playground thanks to an announcement that the renovation will close the institution’s notable architecture and design galleries.
The Architect’s Newspaper reports that the Terrence Riley–designed third floor space that holds the design collection has already been disassembled to make way for a new exhibition, and the architecture gallery on the same floor will soon meet the same fate. This is rather shocking news considering MoMA was the first museum in the world to have a sustained department of architecture and design, one which, since the 1960s, has amassed a collection “of nearly 30,000 architectural models, works on paper, design objects, and interiors like the Frankfurt Kitchen.”
Along with the Edward Steichen Photography and Paul J. Sachs Drawings galleries, the museum considers these collections “medium-specific,” and will therefore be absorbing them into larger, general displays. However, they note that this is a temporary result of the renovation and have not “made any statements yet on how the collection will be displayed following the expansion.” They also explain that this won’t affect specific exhibitions focused on architecture or design.
The Architect’s Newspaper points out that the move toward multi-disciplinary exhibitions is a trend seen across the museum world, but as is specific to MoMA, “In the longer run, it means that architecture and design will be competing with all the other departments and curators for exhibition space.”
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