MoMA to Close, Then Open Doors to More Expansive View of Art | Modern Society of USA

MoMA to Close, Then Open Doors to More Expansive View of Art

MoMA to Close, Then Open Doors to More Expansive View of Art

As the Museum of Modern Art begins the final stage of its $400 million overhaul, it will close for four months this summer and autumn to reconfigure its galleries, rehang the entire collection and rethink the way that the story of modern and contemporary art is presented to the public.

The Picassos and van Goghs will still be there, but the 40,000 square feet of additional space will allow MoMA to focus new attention on works by women, Latinos, Asians, African-Americans and other overlooked artists like Shigeru Onishi, a Japanese experimental photographer, or Hervé Télémaque, a Haitian-born painter who is now 81.

With the doors closed from June 15 to Oct. 21, the museum will give up summer tourism revenue in the interest of creating a new MoMA that will abandon the discipline-based display system it has used for eight decades.

Three floors of exhibition space will retain a spine of chronology, but the museum will now mix media, juxtaposing painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, performance, film and works on paper.

“A new generation of curators is discovering the richness of what is in our collection, and there is great work being made around the world that we need to pay attention to,” said Glenn D. Lowry, director of the museum. “It means that the usual gets supplanted now by the unexpected.”

MoMA is announcing these changes and others on Tuesday. In another marked shift, the museum will rotate a selection of art in its galleries every six to nine months and draw all of the opening exhibitions from its permanent collection — an acknowledgment that there is no single or complete history of modern and contemporary art and that many of MoMA’s holdings have historically been overlooked.

As a result, while visitors will still be able to count on highlights like Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” they are also likely to be exposed to less familiar names, including Okwui Okpokwasili, an Igbo-Nigerian-American artist, performer and choreographer.

The renovation — designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler — will include additional space from the demolished American Folk Art Museum. Existing galleries will also expand west through 53W53, the new residential skyscraper designed by Jean Nouvel.

The museum will reopen with a survey of Latin American art, along with exhibitions by two African-American artists: William Pope.L, known for his provocative performances, and Betye Saar, 92, whose collages and assemblages have often flown under the radar.

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