November 20, 2018

Metropolitan Museum of Art Revives Plans for Modern and Contemporary Art Wing

NEW YORK—The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has revealed that it will move forward with its plans to redesign its modern and contemporary art galleries. The institution first announced that it would overhaul its Southwest Wing, the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, in 2014, but postponed the $600 million project in 2017 in order to curb a $10 million deficit. Since then, the Met has welcomed Max Hollein as its new director, worked on stabilizing its finances, and initiated talks with the Frick Collection, which may take over the Met Breuer in 2020.

According to the New York Times, following the museum’s historic decision to change its “pay what you wish” admissions policy and to start charging out-of-state museumgoers $25 admission, the Met has increased its revenue 41 percent over the last year. It has also scaled back several museum projects. Hollein told the New York Times that he had talked with museum management about letting go of the costly Met Breuer and focusing on the Fifth Avenue building before he accepted the position.

The remodeled David Chipperfield–designed modern and contemporary art wing will display works from the museum’s encyclopedic collection alongside twentieth and twentieth-first century pieces. Hollein said that works will also activate other parts of the museum such as its Great Hall. Hollein explained that his goal is not to compete with other contemporary art institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art. “We will base our presentation on quality and particular narratives and how can we present something that really adds to the understanding of modern and contemporary art.”

The museum is also planning to announce its vision for a $70 million revamp of its Michael C. Rockefeller Wing. Dedicated to the art of Africa, the Americas, and Oceania, the 40,000-square-foot wing will be designed by the architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHy, and is slated to be completed in 2023. Among the museum’s other projects are its $22 million renovation of its galleries of British decorative art and sculpture, which will be finished in 2020, and the installation of new skylights in its European paintings galleries, a $150 million project that will be completed in 2022.

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