MoMA Mia

fol art

I find it hard to believe the stated rationale for the demolition of what had been the home of the American  Folk Art Museum on 53rd Street—that its blank façade does not accord with MoMA’s glassy image. I’m not one to defend the inhospitable face that Williams & Tsien’s design turns to the street, but MoMA itself is hardly the most considerate neighbor, as I wrote in Slate shortly after Yoshio Taniguchi’s makeover opened. The truth is that the building whose announced demolition has caused such a furor, at least among architects and architecture critics, is not a very good museum. The idiosyncratic interior—mostly circulation space—with its exciting but distracting views, its multitude of materials, and its busy details, overwhelms whatever is being displayed. This may have been acceptable—just—when the museum was a kind of cabinet of curiosities; it’s hard to imagine it as a place for art.

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