New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will reopen on Monday after a $450-million expansion.
The renovation, by architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler, has added new exhibition spaces and street-level galleries.
Also set to be unveiled are a performance studio and a “creativity lab,” with the latter being described by the museum as an “experimental space to explore ideas, questions and art processes that arise from our collection and exhibitions.”
In a statement, MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry said of the expansion: “The challenge before us today is how to create a museum that is at once global in its perspective yet rooted in New York; that is sensitive to divergent artistic practices yet focused on the artists and ideas it most believes in; that is open and accessible to the largest possible public yet engaging and intimate; that is fundamentally participatory yet enables individual experiences.”
Five floors of multidisciplinary works in the new galleries will bring together some of the museum’s most famous pieces, with self portraits of Frida Kahlo and Cindy Sherman set to be presented alongside art ranging from Monet’s “Water Lilies” to contemporary multimedia installations.
Lynn Zelevansky, a former curatorial assistant at MoMA in the ’80s and ‘90s, attended one of the previews of the space ahead of the public opening.
“We started on the second floor where all the contemporary stuff is, but I think the real test of this (expansion) is how the older work looks,” she said. “Contemporary work is made for big open galleries with high ceilings. Often that dwarfs traditional paintings, but they have done the fifth floor (where 19th- and early 20th-century work is now housed) beautifully … there is much more space for the art.”
The expansion was planned, in part, to increase the diversity of art on display. New work on show includes “Handles,” an installation by South Korean artist, Haegue Yang, commissioned for MoMA’s new Marron Atrium. The exhibition consists of six geometric sculptures playing with light and sound that will be activated daily.
Four new exhibitions, meanwhile, will mark the museum’s reopening. “Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window” will showcase Saar’s early prints and their connection to one of her most famous works, the assemblage “Black Girl’s Window.” Home videos and amateur movies from 1923 onwards will be displayed in “Private Lives Public Spaces,” while painter Amy Sillman will curate a selection of her works for “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman – The Shape of Shape.”
“Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction,” comprising works donated by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, will spotlight artists from Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Argentina: among them Lygia Clark, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gego, Hélio Oiticica, Raúl Lozza and Rhod Rothfuss.
The selected pieces are aptly themed for the transformation of MoMA: According to a press release, they will reflect “a radical reinvention of the art object and a renewal of the social environment through art and design.”