MoMA’s Latest Controversy: Free Sculpture Garden Access

As part of an already controversial expansion plan, MoMA will allow free access to the cloistered sanctuary of its sculpture garden. Not everyone is a fan of the idea, saying crowds will spoil the effect.

The Museum of Modern Art created a stir in January when it decided on plans to demolish the neighboring American Folk Art Museum as part of an expansion plan by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

And now there is more controversy, writes Robin Pogrebin, due to the museum's plans to allow free access (which formerly required the $25 price of admission) to its sculpture garden. “Now, though, as part of an expansion plan, the museum is talking about opening the gates to the sanctum for no charge, a prospect that some find positively horrifying.”

Pogrebin explains that the proposal is, at least in part, a response to the controversy over the Folk Art Museum: “MoMA announced the plan last month, partly to help mitigate its widely unpopular decision to demolish a neighbor, the former American Folk Art Museum, as part of its expansion.”

Public response has been decidedly mixed: “But the garden proposal has generated its own controversy. Some applaud opening up what is officially known as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden as a step in a more populist direction for an institution often accused of being cold and imperious. Others envision spring break invading the space of Matisse, Giacometti and Miró.”

Full Story: MoMA’s Proposal for Sculpture Garden Pleases and Riles

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