Thursday, April 11, 2013

Farewell, 45 West 53rd

The New York Times reports that the building that began life in 2001 as New York’s American Folk Art Museum is to be torn down and replaced by another building. Andrew S. Dolkart, a professor of historic preservation:

“It’s very rare that a building that recent comes down, especially a building that was such a major design and that got so much publicity when it opened for its design — mostly very positive. The building is so solid looking on the street, and then it becomes a disposable artifact. It’s unusual and it’s tragic because it’s a notable work of 21st century architecture by noteworthy architects who haven’t done that much work in the city, and it’s a beautiful work with the look of a handcrafted facade.”
Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art:
“We bought the site, and our responsibility is to use the site intelligently.”
The building now standing at 45 West 53rd Street is a beautiful work. Its imminent destruction is a shame. I am reminded of what I have seen in my old Brooklyn neighborhood and my old New Jersey suburb: houses purchased and destroyed so that new owners can build whatever. Intelligent use: not.


May 9: The Times reports that the Museum of Modern Art is reconsidering. But: “One person involved in the plans, who was not authorized to comment and therefore spoke on condition of anonymity, said that MoMA was still likely to arrive at the same conclusion.”


January 8, 2014: The Times reports that the American Folk Art Museum is to be demolished.

[Someday I will have to tell the story of my 2002 trip to the museum for a Henry Darger exhibit and a John Ashbery reading.]

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