Yesterday, we shared the news of the Folk Art Museum’s announcement to sell its 53rd Street building to the MoMA due to financial troubles. As we reported, with the MoMA looking to expand its gallery square footage, speculation is growing as to whether the Folk Art museum will be preserved. The situation is a little complicated as the Folk Art building stands between the existing MoMA and an empty lot sold to the developer Hines which is where Jean Nouvel’s West 53rd tower will stand in the future. Some feel the MoMA will demolish the Folk Art to utilize the empty lot to its fullest potential. Yet, the MoMA has said the Folk Art museum will be used as gallery space.
Architect Todd Williams has expressed concern over converting the building into anything other than an art museum, stating, “It wouldn’t make any sense to gut the structure” and adding that, “When you make a building, you put your heart and soul into it and send it out into the world.” While the Folk Art is set to relocate to its 5,000 sqf gallery on Columbus Avenue, the future of the 53rd Street structure is still to be determined.