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The Demolition Game

What is the role of architecture in the eyes of the patrons and trustees of our museums? How does patronage influence the curators and the interaction of the public with the art displayed?

Joanna Pousette-Dart & David Novros

All exterior designed by Frank Gehry. $25 Admission. Membership cards (annual).

Distant Musings on MoMA’s Folk Art Dilemma: What, Who & How It Represents

Thirteen years on, nearly all this building’s admirable virtues, those which made it so well suited for musing on craft, have now been declared irreconcilably problematic for the incremental prerogatives of New York City’s ever burgeoning Museum of Modern Art.


It is no small irony that MoMA’s argument for demolishing the American Folk Art Museum and its critics’ argument for preserving it both hinge on the notion that the abandoned building is “bespoke,” an object of exceptional quality, made from scratch to the demands of a specific client.

The Specific Museum

For the last eight years, I have been teaching a class on museum education at Columbia’s Teachers College, and maybe because of that I tend to regard museums essentially as educational institutions.

Above the Crowds

Did Liz Diller really say that? I am not sure if anyone starts out with the idea that they are going to make something that is idiosyncratic. The character of the intellect is the determining factor.

Modern Versus Modern

The decision of MoMA to tear down the American Folk Art Museum and the inability of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) to deter them through architecture have given rise to a robust and impassioned journalism that architecture has not seen for a long time.

Demolition Style: Big Art, Small Architecture, and the Dust of Daily Life

Only those present in MoMA’s inner chamber know precisely what happened, but, if DS+R indeed proposed alternatives to demolition, the options fell on deaf ears.

Let Us Start by Identifying Differing Ends

I have been asked to consider this moment as an opportunity to elucidate what we can learn from what happens when a major museum decides to expand and the contingent consequences of that decision as it affects the future of art within the city.

Tear Down on 53rd Street

In the midst of the controversy over MoMA’s decision to destroy the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, a record of sorts was set: the largest auction of a collection of American folk art in history (yielding close to $13 million) took place at Sotheby’s on January 25, 2014.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2014

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