NY Met museum rebuilds wing

By Robin Pogrebin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-05-23 08:50:34

NY Met museum rebuilds wing

The Metropolitan Museum of Art draws visitors from around the world, with its wealth of artworks on display. Stan Honda / Agence France-presse

The New York landmark has planned a brand-new wing to house contemporary art, Robin Pogrebin reports.

NY Met museum rebuilds wing

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is planning to rebuild its wing for modern and contemporary art - possibly from scratch - to create new showcase galleries for its expanded collection from those periods, Met officials have confirmed. Part of the first comprehensive re-examination of the museum's layout in 40 years, the planned new wing sends a powerful signal that the Met is acknowledging its shortcomings in the area of modern and contemporary art and stepping up its commitment to that area in order to become truly encyclopedic.

"It seemed a logical moment to really step back and think about the needs of the museum in the next 30 years," says Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Met. "It's the modern wing's turn to get it right."

This comes at a time when the museum world has become more competitive and others are upping their game, namely the Museum of Modern Art, which recently announced a major renovation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which will soon move to a snazzy, hip new home downtown.

Still, the move has its risks, given that modern and contemporary art has never been the Met's main skill set and some will argue that the museum should play to its strengths. But the museum has a tail wind with the massive gift it received last year of 79 cubist paintings, drawings and sculptures from the philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder. And the Met seems determined to compete in a field whose stature and popularity has been boosted by soaring auction prices.

Though the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, completed in 1987 in the southwest corner of the institution, is one of the largest recent additions, curators and visitors have long viewed its layout as problematic, partly because it does not allow for a chronological presentation.

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