New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced that it will be closing its famed architecture and design galleries, according to a report in the The Architect’s Newspaper, a move necessitated by the institution's current renovation project. Both located on the third floor, the Terrence Riley–designed space for design has already been altered—it’s currently housing the exhibition, "A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond"—while the architecture space will be reconfigured after showcasing Pedro Gadanho’s show on Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House. Both spaces will reopen in early 2017 in a new configuration.
The museum says these changes are a temporary result of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) renovation, final plans of which haven't been released, and has not made permanent decisions regarding the fate of the architecture gallery, or how the collection will be displayed in the future.
The reconfiguration is part of a museum-wide move towards a more multi-disciplinary display of artwork, described in a New York Times article as a "boundary-crossing approach" focusing on connection between genres, mediums, and eras. As The Architect's Newspaper story points out, the MoMA architecture gallery was a rare venue strictly focused on displaying architecture. Since the medium can be difficult to showcase in a museum setting, losing a standalone gallery that provides such a storied spotlight would be difficult to replace.
Below is a statement on the situation from MoMA:
In preparation for the expansion, the Museum is undertaking renovation projects in its existing building. This phased approach allows for improvements and new visitor accommodations that will be completed by the time construction begins on the west end of the Museum.
The Special Exhibitions, Photography, Drawings, and Architecture galleries on the third floor are temporarily closed and will reopen in a new configuration in early 2017. The galleries traditionally used for Design installations currently show the special exhibition Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond (through July 4), with an installation of Design from the collection following.
During the period of renovation, works from Photography, Drawings, and Architecture and Design 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’s flexible use of its spaces will allow for thematic surveys as well as focused presentations based on medium, theme, artist, time period, etc.
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. It is too soon, however, to describe exactly what our approach to the collection will be.
The expansion comprises approximately 50,000 square feet of new gallery space, and 15,000 square feet of renovated gallery space. Combined with the changes being made as part of the renovation, the end result will be an overall net gain of 30% more gallery space.
· MoMA to Abolish Architecture and Design Galleries [The Architect’s Newspaper]
· MoMA Expansion Scaled Back With Revised Timeline [Curbed New York]