Building for the Future: A Work in Progress

January 2016

MoMA is committed to being the most engaging and welcoming museum in New York, and to bringing art and people together more effectively than ever before. A new building project will expand The Museum of Modern Art’s public spaces and galleries, allowing the Museum to reconceive the presentation of its collection and exhibitions and offer a more open, accessible, and engaging experience.

We have been working closely with the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with executive architects Gensler, to refine plans for The Museum of Modern Art’s renovation and expansion. The building project comprises approximately 50,000 square feet of new gallery space. In addition, we are making a number of changes to some existing spaces, and the end result will be an overall gallery space increase of 30%. The total square footage of the renovated Museum will be 744,000, an increase of 17%. With more space for experiencing the Museum’s collection and exhibitions, we’ll be able to expand our programming, present recent acquisitions, and bring together works from all mediums in new and different ways.

To facilitate construction, we are taking a phased approach. Preparatory renovation work is now underway on some public spaces and galleries on the east end of the Museum, with more extensive construction to begin in approximately a year. This preliminary work includes the extension of the Bauhaus staircase from the second floor to the main floor, the development of a new lounge open to The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden and an additional coat check on the ground floor, and the reconfiguration of several galleries on the third floor into temporary exhibition spaces. These renovations are an important first step toward making the Museum a more accessible and inviting place for everyone and for showing more of our unparalleled collection.

This vision will be fully realized over the coming years, and we will share more information here as our plans develop.

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Vision Statement

Great art museums not only contain exemplary works of art, they are also places where—in a single visit—surprise, learning, and reflection come together in a liberating set of experiences. They link contemplation and conversation, quiet and excitement. This is especially true for museums of modern and contemporary art that embrace today’s most daring artists while also providing contexts for understanding and enjoying this art. As The Museum of Modern Art looks to the future, it is committed to these dual responsibilities and to expanding and enhancing its galleries to better bring art and people together. Our goal is to provide visitors with the pleasure of finding their own meaning within a singularly inclusive constellation of 20th- and 21st-century artistic practices.

A walk through the Museum’s expanded and reconceived galleries, in combination with a wide range of interpretive programs, will offer engaging ways of linking the past to the present through exposure to radical ideas that bloomed in the late 19th century and continue to challenge conventional thinking today. The new Museum of Modern Art will be a place where you discover the most creative artists from around the world, revealing ideas that make you think and feel differently; a place where you can intimately study a collage, musical score, or video short, and also create your own; a place that encourages a sense of engagement with what is happening around the world, whether you are at the Museum, at home, or at work; a place where you can enjoy art at your own pace, alone or with family and friends; a place that is at once subversive and affirming; and a place that, with its changing exhibitions, performances, films, and educational programs, never feels the same.

Enlivening and participatory, the new Museum will be a place for people of all ages and experiences to share their thoughts and questions with each other. It is a place for conversation, and a place for many stories.

To help realize this vision, we are working with the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with executive architects Gensler, on a comprehensive plan for the current building and for two additional sites adjacent to the western end of the Museum, into which we are expanding. The architects have been exploring the site holistically to achieve a thoughtfully resolved set of galleries and public spaces for the Museum. We asked Diller Scofidio + Renfro to make The Museum of Modern Art the most welcoming museum in New York; to build upon the sequence of galleries created by Yoshio Taniguchi in 2004—without replicating them—to maximize the variety of spaces for presenting our collection; and to ensure that the Museum is more directly woven into the dynamic urban fabric of midtown Manhattan.

With more space for experiencing the collection, which has grown significantly in the past decade, the Museum’s programming will expand accordingly. In addition to iconic works in the Museum’s renowned collection of modern art, we will be able to show transformative acquisitions made in the last decade, drawing from entire collections including contemporary drawings, Fluxus, and Conceptual art, and the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright. Major recent acquisitions of work by renowned artists such as Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Broodthaers, Paul Chan, Lygia Clark, David Hammons, Rachel Harrison, Zoe Leonard, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mira Schendel, Richard Serra, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Cy Twombly, among others, will join the work of many artists new to the collection, enabling MoMA to better share the expansive—and ever-expanding—story of modern and contemporary art. Works from all mediums, including architecture, design, drawings, film, media, painting, performance, photography, prints, and sculpture, will be brought together in carefully choreographed sequences that present the creative frictions and influences that spring from seeing all of these disciplines together.

Our goal is to ensure the continued dynamism of the Museum’s unparalleled collection while making the Museum a more open, accessible, and engaging place, one where questions are prized and the diversity of ideas raised by modern and contemporary artists becomes a greater and more resonant part of people’s daily lives.

This vision will be fully realized over the coming years, and there is much work ahead of us. As our architectural and curatorial plans develop, we will share more information here. I hope that you will join us as this project unfolds, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Glenn D. Lowry

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