MoMA seems to feel stung by the criticism launched at the museum when its expansion plans (and demolition of the adjacent Folk Art Museum) created controversy. The museum has launched a PR assault by coopting the New York Times with an early release of the next set of plans which seem to include a massive re-orientation of the museum’s philosophy and approach to the idea of whatis “modern.”
Both the museum and the Times are downplaying the shift in favor of playing up the idea of inclusiveness:
“It’s a rethinking of how we were originally conceived,” Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director, said in an interview at MoMA. “We had created a narrative for ourselves that didn’t allow for a more expansive reading of our own collection, to include generously artists from very different backgrounds.”
Whereas galleries were formerly labeled according to discipline — architecture, photography — now each floor will represent a rough chronological moment. A floor devoted to the 1920s and ’30s, for example, will include photography as well as drawings, paintings and sculpture.
“The bulk of the discussion has really been the shift from a system that in some ways was outdated — photography, media — into one in which we’re thinking about the entire presentation as a whole,” said Ann Temkin, the chief curator of paintings and sculpture.
“Today we’re saying: Of course there are many histories; the collection represents those many histories,” she added. “Don’t repeat the dogmatism of the past.”
MoMA’s Makeover Rethinks the Presentation of Art (The New York Times)