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MoMA to demolish American Folk Art Museum

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Just 12 years after it opened, the American Folk Art Museum looks set for demolition as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) redevelopment plans

Designed by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, the American Folk Art Museum sits next to MoMA in New York. Completed in 2001, it was the first new museum to be built in New York for more than 30 years.

MoMA bought the building in 2012, as part of future plans for their expansion, which include a tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

Once redeveloped the American Folk Art Museum site will provide the museum with an additional 3,000m² of exhibition space. Glenn Lowry, MoMA’s director told the New York Times: ‘The expansion will complete the MoMA campus’.

Speaking to the New York Times, MoMA officials said the building’s design did not fit their plans because the opaque facade is not in keeping with the glass aesthetic of the rest of the museum. The former folk museum is also set back farther than MoMA’s other properties, and the floors would not line up.

We are deeply saddened that this significant building will now be lost forever

A statement from Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, said: ‘The Folk Art Building stands as an example of a modest and purposefully conceived and crafted space for art and the public; a building type that is all too rare in a city that is often defined by bigness and impersonality. We remain enormously proud of it, and are deeply saddened that a significant building that was a source of enjoyment and inspiration for so many will now be lost forever.’

The American Folk Art Museum relocated to a smaller building nearby, after it was forced to sell the museum due to running into financial difficulties.

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