News broke out on April 12th,
That MoMA had to shut down their Architecture and Design galleries.

Though the galleries are in claims of renovation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro from the City of Dreams – New York.
Designers expressed their distress and architects are in anguish. At first nobody was sure of the outcome. Speculations and questions were let loose and grew wild.
Were the design galleries to get a larger separate space, or was that a claim to console the design community?
Will the prized artefacts and models of masterpieces now be interspersed among the untouched retained art galleries?
Is Architecture at MoMA tumbling downhill?

Courtesy of Nathan Keay

Courtesy of Nathan Keay

But the curators at MoMA soon reassured design enthusiasts and avid visitors, that the architecture and design collections and galleries are not actually going away. Spaces shall change, arrangements will differ. But the collection is in no danger of being out of sight forever.
MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design was founded in 1932, being the first museum in the world having an independent section dedicated to the intersection of architecture and design. At that glorious era, if one was an ambitious architect or designer who wanted to hit the bulls eye, you had to go through MoMA.  Dame Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Lyod Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe and Daniel Libeskind have all done their time. In fact the department’s first curator was Philip Johnson, who even held position for more than 10 years. The collection consists of 28,000 works including architectural models, drawings and photographs.

Courtesy of Jackson Pollock

Courtesy of Jackson Pollock

Having an interdisciplinary approach to inserting the works among the general museum seems like a plausible idea, but MoMA may have got something up its sleeve.
Lets hear what some of the greatest personalities have to say:

Martino Stierli:
Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich. Chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA.
“I’ve collaborated on the 1960s show with 15 curators from all of the departments, and am pleased with it. Architecture and design are well represented.”

Chelsea Blahut:
Online content producer at Hanley Wood, and writes for ARCHITECT, Residental Architect, and EcoBuilding Pulse.
“I disagree, and find that while design objects seem to be well spotlighted, architecture, with only a sprinkling of models and drawings, is relegated to the background.”

Courtesy of Ajari

Courtesy of Ajari

Terence Riley:
Chief curator of the MoMA A+D department from 1992 to 2006.
“The widespread trend among museums toward integrating architecture and design into overall exhibitions usually diminishes the importance of each discipline’s representation. Apologies to my many curator friends at MoMA and elsewhere, but most curators are not interested in, nor are they knowledgeable about, architecture and design.”

Phyllis Lambert:
Founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, architect and patron of MoMA.
“I am shocked. Architecture was basic to founding director Alfred Barr’s vision for the museum,  in 1932.”

Courtesy of OkayAfrica

Courtesy of OkayAfrica


Alexander Gorlin:

Architect and MoMA patron. Winner of the Rome and Prize in Architecture and promoted to fellowship by the AIA.
“I find it ironic that the museum is willing to give a lot of space to a blockbuster Le Corbusier show, though in between the shows, architecture does not merit even one square dedicated inch of space.”

Andres Lepik:
Curator in the MoMA A+D department from 2007-2010.
“It’s a disastrous decision. Why would you keep a department with so many good people and then not allow a permanent display space. A+D is then only D.”

Courtesy of

Courtesy of Deane Madsen

Paola Antonelli:
Author, editor, and curator. Former Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design at MoMA.
“I really do believe that design is the highest form of creative expression. I want people to understand that design is so much more than cute chairs, that it is first and foremost to everything that is around us in our life.”

Aaron Betsky:
Critic, curator, and educator on architecture and design. Former director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the current dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
“Nothing shines a spotlight on architecture the way a MoMA exhibition does.”

Courtesy of MoMA

Courtesy of MoMA

Clearly the tension is strong and everyone is alert. Though director Martino Stierli has written a letter addressing the issue and has stated that, what they’re hoping for is a 30% increase in gallery area.
Architecture is a difficult field to those of us in it and unclear those who aren’t.

So is MoMA only doing its best to make it more approachable?
Guess we’ll know 3 years later.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of Hangar Biocaca – Mike Kelley

Interviews Courtesy of the Architect Magazine.

Written by: Ekshikaa S

 

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