Following MoMa's announcement that it was going to raze the former American Folk Art Museum on 53rd Street and build an expansion that will match its existing glassy aesthetic, the world of archicritics and wannbe archicritics sorta exploded. Most of the comments across our own site, Facebook and Twitter were decidedly anti-MoMA and in favor of preserving the bronze stacked sculptural facade designed 12 years ago by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.
The New York Review of Books critic Martin Filler called MoMa's planned move "an act of vandalism," while New York Magazine's Justin Davidson basically called the museum hypocritical, in essence betraying its mission, for claiming to champion modern art inside its walls while at the same time tearing down a prime example of modern architecture. Archinect launched a crowdsourced protest with the hashtag #FolkMoMA. Cathleen McGuigan, editor of the Architectural Record, similarly pointed out the ironies of the situation.
Not everyone is hating on MoMA, though. One commenter on Curbed's Facebook page said, "It's an awful building. And being 12 years old hardly makes it a treasured antiquity." Another agreed, but put her thoughts a little less delicately: "I'd rather see glass than that hideous monster of a building!" A third was more diplomatic, but ended up siding with Davidson: "It's pretty ugly so I don't see what the big deal is. I say that being a person who is not the biggest fan of modernist architecture so I am definitely biased. That being said, though, given that the MoMA is a modern art museum, I think they should keep it."
On Twitter, critic and Vanity Fair contributor Paul Goldberger called it "the saddest architectural news of the year, so far." Do you agree or disagree?
· Curbed's Facebook page [www.facebook.com/curbedny]
· MoMA To Raze 12-Year-Old, Architecturally Lauded Building [Curbed]