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Why MoMA Should Not Raze the Folk Art Museum, In Free Verse

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It seems like the only entity that thinks the MoMA should tear down the American Folk Art Museum is MoMA. Last week, the Museum of Modern Art announced its plans to demolish the sculpted, bronze-faced building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, to expand its glassy galleries. Since then, dozens of members of the art and architecture world have proclaimed their strong opposition to the plan.

Yesterday, the Architectural League of New York?whose members include Annabelle Selldorf, Richard Meier, Thom Mayne, Steven Holl, Hugh Hardy, Robert A.M. Stern, and many more?wrote a letter calling on MoMA to reconsider. Bloomberg's archicritic joined the chorus today with a poetic piece that reads as an ode to the endangered building, which brings us to the latest installment of Rhyme Time With James Russell.

A flabbergasting act of cultural vandalism,
MoMA is set to destroy the building next door.

The assertive, fortressy architecture.
The Folk's facade, a six-story shield
wrought in rough-finished tinted white bronze,
starkly contrasts MoMA's polished glass walls.
Inside, planes of glass, metal, and concrete
competed with humble art never intended for such an exalted setting.
But flaws should not be deal breakers.

The Folk Art's architects,
trying to escape the typical tyranny of stacked galleries.
Wide stairways, display opportunities.
A canyon of space whose skylight drew us ever higher.
An engagingly mysterious way to move.
Along the way, pause in front of beautiful and odd objects.

Now MoMA,
with a troubling sense of empire,
wants to raze the place
and engulf the site in more antiseptic galleries
The floors are slightly mismatched; it's not sleek and glossy.
This is a pitiful rationalization.

The Folk Art, with its domestic scale and its sublime idiosyncrasy,
would add a bit of drama to MoMA's antiseptic white-box galleries.
· Folk Art Museum Should Not Be Whacked by Big MoMA [Bloomberg]
· An Open Letter to the Museum of Modern Art [Architectural League]
· American Folk Art Museum coverage [Curbed]
· Rhyme Time With James Russell [Curbed]