MoMA to buy American Folk Art Museum Building

The beautiful Tod Williams and Billie Tsien-designed building of the American Folk Art Museum turned 10 this year but will apparently fall into the clutches of the ever-expanding Museum of Modern Art.

From a MoMA memo sent to their staff this week (thanks, Will!):

The American Folk Art Museum recently approached The Museum of Modern Art regarding its decision to sell its building at 45 West 53 Street, as MoMA has the right of first refusal on the building and property. Much thought was given to this opportunity, and after careful consideration we have agreed to purchase the building and property. The decision was approved unanimously by our Board of Trustees at today’s meeting. This mutually beneficial arrangement will provide critical funding for the American Folk Art Museum, which we understand will concentrate its exhibitions and programs at its Lincoln Square location. It also will provide additional space for The Museum of Modern Art. More details will be available in the coming months.

The AFAM has been struggling to pay back the $32 million debt they took on in order to build their metal-clad home. But even after the wild, unequivocal success of their Armory Quilt Show, they’ve decided to pack-up and out, retreating to their relatively miniscule 5,000 square foot space near Lincoln Center.

Besides break my heart, what will the MoMA do with this extraordinary acquisition? They might tear it down.


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