American Folk Art Museum building to be demolished as MoMA New York's expansion plans are approved

American Folk Art Museum, Sam iv, Wikmedia commons

The Museum of Modern Art New York's Board of Trustees have approved initial details of a major building project that will expand the museum by integrating its current building with three floors of a residential tower being developed at 53 West 53rd Street and by demolishing the former American Folk Art Museum, at 45 West 53rd Street to construct a new building, the New York Daily News reports.

The architecturally acclaimed Folk Art Museum building, with its distinctive beaten copper exterior, was opened in 2001, but sold to MoMA in 2011 to pay $32 million in outstanding construction debts. The Folk Art Museum in now based in a smaller building at 2 Lincoln Square.

Robert A.M. Stern and Frank Gehry have joined other architects in protest against the decision, Artforum has reported “Justice has not been served,” said Stern. “It’s a work of art, especially the façade.” Gehry commented that the destruction is “devastating . . . . We all loved it when it was done; it was a major piece of architecture on the street. I think Billie and Tod deserve a major project in New York City, and let’s get it for them and get on with it. That will get them their dignity back.”