A new museum, and a new way to see contemporary art, are coming to New York City this fall. 

By Talia Avakian
February 06, 2019
Exterior view of The Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street.
© 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Those heading to New York City will soon be able to visit a revamped Museum of Modern Art, as representatives from MoMA have announced that the museum is closing for several months this summer to continue with renovations of the space. 

The renovated MoMA, which will open on Oct. 21, 2019 will include more than 40,000 additional square feet of gallery spaces, and a new way of showcasing its art.

In its expanded galleries, the museum will begin showcasing a variety of mediums and artworks from various timeframes side by side, combining contemporary pieces with early masterpieces, and incorporating painting and performances into the same space to reimagine how these art forms can be displayed.

“Inspired by Alfred Barr’s original vision to be an experimental museum in New York, the real value of this expansion is not just more space, but space that allows us to rethink the experience of art in the Museum,” director Glenn D. Lowry, said in a statement. “We have an opportunity to re-energize and expand upon our founding mission—to welcome everyone to experience MoMA as a laboratory for the study and presentation of the art of our time, across all visual arts.”

To showcase “the most innovative art,” galleries will change on a seasonal basis, while new works will further highlight those by artists of diverse backgrounds and geographies. 

Related: New York City's New Museum of the Dog Is Home to the World's Largest Collection of Canine Fine Art

All of the exhibitions during the October 2019 opening will include works from the museum’s collection, with upcoming exhibitions including Latin American Art collections, and exhibitions by artists Pope.L and Betye Saar.

A studio in the heart of the museum will serve as a space for live programs and performances incorporating dance, music, and sound works in connection to the art presented in its surrounding galleries, while street-level galleries that are free and open to all on the ground floor will help connect locals and travelers to its pieces.

North/south section-perspective through the new gallery spaces at The Museum of Modern Art, looking east along Fifty-third Street.
© 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro

On the second floor, visitors will find a new space where they can further interact with the art, taking part in conversations, meeting artists, and creating art themselves.

The changes are part of a multi-year expansion and renovation project, with Diller Scofidio + Renfro designing the changes in collaboration with Gensler.

Elevation of The Museum of Modern Art on Fifty-third Street with cutaway view below street level.
© 2017 Diller Scofidio + Renfro

As part of the renovation, changes include a light-filled main lobby that connects routes throughout the museum, a sixth-floor lounge complete with an outdoor terrace facing 53rd Street, and large glass features to open up views of the museum’s design and book store to the public.

“This work has required the curiosity of an archeologist and the skill of a surgeon,” Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, said in a prior statement regarding the renovation.

“The improvements will make the visitor experience more intuitive and relieve congestion, while a new circulation network will knit together the expansion spaces with the lobbies, the theaters, and the Sculpture Garden to create a contiguous, free public realm that bridges street to street and art to city,” Diller added.

To prepare for the changes, the museum will be closing to the public after June 15 (though members will be able to visit on June 16 to celebrate the occasion) before it reopens again.

When it opens in October, the museum will also open at 10 a.m. each day and offer extended programming until 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.

MoMA will also be partnering with The Studio Museum in Harlem, allowing for its exhibitions to be displayed in the museum and at MoMA PS1 while the Studio Museum constructs a new facility at its 125th Street location.

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