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Museum of Modern Art reopens after $450 million expansion

Written by Elizabeth Wallace, CNNNew York

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will reopen on Monday after a $450-million expansion.

The renovation, by architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler, has added new exhibition spaces and street-level galleries.

Also set to be unveiled are a performance studio and a “creativity lab,” with the latter being described by the museum as an “experimental space to explore ideas, questions and art processes that arise from our collection and exhibitions.”
New galleries will open onto the street, connecting the museum with its home in midtown Manhattan.

New galleries will open onto the street, connecting the museum with its home in midtown Manhattan. Credit: Iwan Baan/Courtesy of MoMA

In a statement, MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry said of the expansion: “The challenge before us today is how to create a museum that is at once global in its perspective yet rooted in New York; that is sensitive to divergent artistic practices yet focused on the artists and ideas it most believes in; that is open and accessible to the largest possible public yet engaging and intimate; that is fundamentally participatory yet enables individual experiences.”

Five floors of multidisciplinary works in the new galleries will bring together some of the museum’s most famous pieces, with self portraits of Frida Kahlo and Cindy Sherman set to be presented alongside art ranging from Monet’s “Water Lilies” to contemporary multimedia installations.

30% more gallery space has been added to the expansion.

30% more gallery space has been added to the expansion. Credit: Jonathan Muzikar/Museum of Modern Art

Lynn Zelevansky, a former curatorial assistant at MoMA in the ’80s and ’90s, attended one of the previews of the space ahead of the public opening.

“We started on the second floor where all the contemporary stuff is, but I think the real test of this (expansion) is how the older work looks,” she said. “Contemporary work is made for big open galleries with high ceilings. Often that dwarfs traditional paintings, but they have done the fifth floor (where 19th- and early 20th-century work is now housed) beautifully … there is much more space for the art.”

Famous 19th century works like Henri Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" are now hung in the new galleries, which also host video, sculpture and photographic works.

Famous 19th century works like Henri Rousseau’s “The Sleeping Gypsy” are now hung in the new galleries, which also host video, sculpture and photographic works. Credit: Thomas Griesel/Museum of Modern Art

The expansion was planned, in part, to increase the diversity of art on display. New work on show includes “Handles,” an installation by South Korean artist, Haegue Yang, commissioned for MoMA’s new Marron Atrium. The exhibition consists of six geometric sculptures playing with light and sound that will be activated daily.

The exhibition "Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl's Window" will feature Saar's iconic assemblage alongside her early prints.

The exhibition “Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window” will feature Saar’s iconic assemblage alongside her early prints. Credit: Robert Gerhardt/The Museum of Modern Art

Four new exhibitions, meanwhile, will mark the museum’s reopening. “Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window” will showcase Saar’s early prints and their connection to one of her most famous works, the assemblage “Black Girl’s Window.” Home videos and amateur movies from 1923 onwards will be displayed in “Private Lives Public Spaces,” while painter Amy Sillman will curate a selection of her works for “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman — The Shape of Shape.”

“Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction,” comprising works donated by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, will spotlight artists from Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Argentina: among them Lygia Clark, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gego, Hélio Oiticica, Raúl Lozza and Rhod Rothfuss.

The selected pieces are aptly themed for the transformation of MoMA: According to a press release, they will reflect “a radical reinvention of the art object and a renewal of the social environment through art and design.”

This article originally appeared here