Among the many ironies of the MoMA’s decision to demolish Ted Williams and Billie Tsien’s 12-year old building for the American Folk Art Museum, is the most obvious: as a cultural institution, the MoMA is meant to value and protect, not demolish, architecture.
Critics such as Justin Davidson and Martin Filler have pointed out that the irony is particularly acute considering the MoMA’s “distinguished” and “revivified” department of architecture and design, curated by Barry Bergdoll. They note that Bergdoll, who they both praise highly as “visionary”, has remained conspicuously silent on the decision. Davidson even claims that the MoMA can only appreciate such innovative “individuality [such as Bergdoll's] under glass.”
Bergdoll told Architect’s Newspaper that the decision, although “painful”, was an administrative necessity. He noted that the building “was designed as a jewel box for folk art,” and told AN that it wasn’t flexible enough to house a different collection or a different purpose. What’s more, he pointed out that any significant change to the building (such as retaining only the facade or drastically restructuring it, as some have suggested) would “denature its total design aesthetic” and integrity.
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Story via Architect’s Newspaper