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Opposition to Planned Museum Demolition Grows

Distinguished critic Paul Goldberger decries the Museum of Modern Art's recently announced plan to demolish the neighboring American Folk Art Museum. Meanwhile, social media campaigns are organizing opposition to the plan.
April 20, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The American Folk Art Museum is one of the significant buildings constructed in New York so far in the 21st century and one of the few works in their home city by a pair of architects who are among the most respected in the world," says Goldberger, in an article critical of MoMA's supposed rationale for demolishing the building - its aesthetic incompatibility with the rest of the institution. "We look to MoMA for judgment and taste-making, not for rank indifference to aesthetic matters."

In an interview with The Architect's Newspaper, Barry Bergdoll, chief curator of MoMA's architecture and design department, offered more insight on the controversial decision. He "told AN that the decision was an administrative, rather than a curatorial one. He called the decision 'painful' for architects and others who appreciate Williams and Tsein’s work, and acknowledged that museums have a responsibility to the art in their care—including architecture," says Virginia C. McGuire. "But, he said, the building 'was designed as a jewel box for folk art,' and could not reasonably be altered to fit a different collection and a different purpose."

In a post on AN's blog, Alan Brake noted that, "As the chorus of criticism swells against MoMA’s plan to demolish the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a pair of petitions have been posted urging the Modern to reconsider its demolition plans. Also, a crowd-sourced tumblr, #FolkMoMA, is soliciting ideas for reuse of Williams and Tsien’s building."

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Published on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in Vanity Fair
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