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Museum Of Modern Art Gets A Total Makeover

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is the countries most visited modern art museum, but for the last four months, art lovers and experts alike had to put their contemporary art desires aside while the MoMA underwent an extensive renovation and expansion. According to CBS News, the museum is anticipated to re-open on October 21st, which has been the set date since the beginning, so the huge project has been moving smoothly and right on schedule. The entire renovation is set to cost $450 million when all is said and done; that price will cover the cost of an entire new wing in the museum, expanding the current gallery space by 30%! Glenn Lowry, MoMA’s director projects that the museum will be able to hold almost one thousand pieces of additional art with the new space. 

“For me, what’s so exciting is that there were two museums when I arrived here 25 years ago. There was the museum that was on display, and there was the museum that was in storage. And they were unrelated. And now what we’ve done is bring those two museums together, so the museum on display much better reflects that museum that was in storage,” said Lowry to CBS

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Lowry also went on to explain the purpose behind the massive renovation that left the museum with months of no business. Previously, the MoMA was built up of individual departments, according to Lowry. Those departments were mainly representative of different art mediums, artists, and time periods. Each department had its own individual section, making each one disconnected from the other. While logically it seems to make sense that you would organize every room in a museum to contain one specific department, it ended up becoming very restrictive to how many pieces of one specific type of art they could have on display at a time; hence, Lowry’s “two museum” explanation. 

Now, architect Liz Giller and her team at Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked tirelessly to open up the museum and expand it to reach its full potential for displaying modern art. She wanted to open up the general entry space and make the entire museum seem more inviting. In addition, she moved the gift shop down a level, also in an effort to open up the general entry space of the museum. 

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“This will be just full of natural light coming in, and the store is actually bigger. So, even though it’s below the ground, it takes advantage of all this natural light – we have this fantastic visibility between the street and the lobby. Attention was paid to every detail, even the stairwell,” she said

The intensive process also involved a complete reorganization of the gallery space, which included the cleaning and refurbishing of a lot of longtime MoMA displays that needed some sprucing up. The renovation isn’t just to give the museum an updated look, but to re-brand the entire Modern Art experience. CBS reports that the museum will now contain five times the amount of pieces made by female artists, and the space will be updating the artwork held in the museum much more frequently. Specifically, every six months a third of the current art collections hanging in the museum will be swapped for new ones, or ones that haven’t been on display in a while. While the museum will have to close again during these transitional periods, and it adds a lot more work to all the staff, it’s all a part of the “New MoMA” project and experience, to keep them at the top of their game, and keep frequent art aficionados interested.