AFP, published on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 7:23 AM
After four months of closure for works, the Museum of Modern Art in New York reopens on October 21 in an exhibition space that has increased by almost a third and a reinvented layout.
Since its installation in 1939, in the heart of Manhattan, the MoMA has repeatedly pushed the walls to cope with the growth of its collection and increased presence.
In 1950, 1962, 1980 and 2001, successive works completely renovated this museum, which is one of the few large institutions in the world fully enclosed in the urban network.
With an unashamed financial health and able to benefit from a joint real estate project, the MoMA has decided to expand again.
After a first push eastwards along 53rd Street, completed in 2017, the former The Modern stretched to the west.
The MoMA sold the land next to the building to developers and agreed that the museum would benefit from the first three floors of this new giant tower, 320 meters high, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
On arrival, the museum was given almost 3,600 m2 of extra exhibition space, around 30%, for a total of 15,500 m2 of galleries.
Even if these new buildings are technically located in another building, the continuity between the spaces for the visitor is total.
The works have also allowed to invite more natural light, with recordings of windows and clearances.
The entire project costs around $ 450 million.
Thanks to this new space, director Glenn Lowry told reporters, the Modern will be able to show around 2,400 works per year to the public, compared to an average of 1,500 to date.
But the most important change is elsewhere.
– Interdisciplinarity –
For the first time, the works are not only presented per period, but also per theme, with an explanatory panel at the entrance, voluntarily written in an accessible language.
Galleries also often offer a more conscious mix of painting, sculpture, photography and video. To register in a new dynamic, the museum decided to change this arrangement approximately every six months.
The idea is to return to the original spirit, that of the first director, Alfred Barr, who had presented the museum as a laboratory , Glenn Lowry recalls.
For his predecessor, he says, nothing was permanent , art as it was presented. He understood that the museum would constantly change, change and evolve in accordance with modern and contemporary art.
This return home did not happen one day. Already in 2000 MoMA tried for the first time in decades to reconnect with the merging of art through a series of exhibitions.
To come to the big revolution this fall, it needed a new generation of curators with new ideas, for which interdisciplinarity was natural, says Glenn Lowry.
The exercise aims to create the conditions for exchange and dialogue between the arts, under the intrigued eye of the visitor, to make the public understand that the questions are more interesting than the answers, says the director, the sparkling gaze.
This recurring reinvention will nevertheless have its limits, warned the head of the institution for almost a quarter of a century, partly to reassure those who are afraid of not finding one of the works majors of MoMA during their next visit.
These will be mostly visible, says Glenn Lowry, with particular reference to The Young Ladies of Avignon by Picasso or the Nympheas by Claude Monet. But the context in which these works can be seen changes every six months.