How to do it: The Met and The Whitney

After the initial uproar over The American Folk Art Museum’s plan to sell their building to the MoMA (see previous post) most commentators agree that at least one museum move is a good idea: The Met’s 8-year lease of the to-be-vacated-in-2015 Whitney Museum building. This is a vastly better plan than further expanding The Met’s frankenstein structure on Central Park East. Maybe they should tell that to MoMA.

From Lee Rosenbaum:

The Met will not only pay to lease the building—about $3 million annually, but will also “share additional revenue with the Whitney,” according to Carol Vogel‘s report in the NY Times. The museums’ announcement (linked at the top) also says that the two institutions “will seek to collaborate on collections sharing, publications, and other educational activities,” making this win-win even more winsome. The Met isconsidering whether to rebuild its own contemporary art wing, so it has now secured back-up space for those collections during the possible construction. It intends to continue showing contemporary art in its main building.

What’s potentially wrong with this picture is the contradiction embodied in Vogel’s article: While noting that the deal gives the Met “much needed space” for its contemporary collection, she also notes that the Met’s contemporary works “have long been considered its weakest link.” Does it really have enough important pieces in storage to fill another entire museum? Presumably this temporary expansion, which might be extended, will be used to entice art donors to enhance the holdings.


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