February 13, 2014
MoMA to Preserve Folk Art’s Bronze Facade and Stop There
A brave curatorial decision or damage control? See how architects and critics are reacting to the news.
After months of bad press, MoMA has decided to save the Folk Art Museum, or at least pieces of it. According to the New York Times, MoMA will preserve the facade of the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien-designed building. Each of the facade’s sixty-three copper-bronze alloy panels will be stored away, MoMA director Glen Lowry told the Times. But, as Lowry made clear, the museum has no current plans to display or reconstruct the fragments. “We have made no decision about what happens subsequently, other than the fact that we’ll have it and it will be preserved.”
Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who are designing the MoMA extension that will take Folk Art’s place, dismissed the idea of re-assembling the fragments in situ as a large-scale sculpture (or ruin, depending how you look at it). “We think of buildings synthetically. Facades and buildings and their organization, their logic, are tied entirely together,” the architect said in an interview with the Times. The sentiment runs counter to MoMA’s conciliatory gesture, which amounts to damage control of sorts. Up until now, the museum has been downright blasé about its intention on demolishing “one of the first significant works of 21st-century architecture in New York.”
For several months now, the FolkMoMA tumblr has been collecting creative, if implausible, proposals for how the Folk Art Museum could be saved. The project, curated by Ana Maria Leon and Quilian Riano, aims to spark a dialogue—at times lighthearted and polemical—about preservation and the work of architecture in the new millennium. In light of MoMA’s latest decision, recent submissions have imagined the building’s facade erected in the Guggenheim rotunda and rubbing shoulders with the Temple of Dendur at the MET. Below, see how twitter is reacting to MoMA’s decision.
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Point, missed. #FolkMoMA http://t.co/aawvKsogJ5
— Alexandra Lange (@LangeAlexandra) February 12, 2014
@lifesansbldgs Saving FolkArt facade is better than demolition—but facade will always be a stark reminder of the failure to truly preserve.
— Paul Goldberger (@paulgoldberger) February 12, 2014
@paulgoldberger @FolkMoMa‘s facade will be like a mounted moose head in a hunting lodge.
— David Cole (@DavidColeArch) February 13, 2014
I suppose this is a predictable outcome of the suggestion that MOMA add the Folk Art building to its collection. http://t.co/3fP6bXjypY
— Karrie Jacobs (@KarrieUrbanist) February 13, 2014
MoMA to performa a #facadectomy on Folk Art museum, keep white bronze panels in storage: http://t.co/Gm9roAefWx #folkmoma
— Branden Klayko (@bklayko) February 12, 2014
moma is boxing up the @folkmoma facade for use in its 2016 exhibition, “philistinism and architecture.” #agbany http://t.co/kp02Wrw0vO
— mark lamster (@marklamster) February 12, 2014
.@FolkMoMA Isn’t preservation of bronze panels just perpetuating facadism,and even more insulting of true architectural experience? #dogbone
— Scott Singeisen (@scottsingeisen) February 13, 2014
@scottsingeisen @FolkMoMA they’d make great coffee tables. Watch for ’em in the MOMA catalog!
— Steven Ward (@SWardArch) February 13, 2014
betadinesuture’s brilliant idea, not mine: make FAM facade a climbing wall in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden. #Folkmoma http://t.co/U0KY0zDhrG
— Donna Sink (@DonnaSinkArch) February 13, 2014