03/26/2014 11:26 am ET Updated Mar 26, 2014

Saltz: This Renovation Plan Will Ruin MoMA

On January 8, Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry and the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro made public their scheme to redesign and expand MoMA. Since then, virtually no artists or architects, or art, design, or architecture critics, have lauded the plan. Nearly all the reaction has been negative. Yet no one’s raised a finger to do much of anything about it. We live in a time when power structures are impervious to and imperious about protest. Yet the Lowry–DS+R plan so irretrievably dooms MoMA to being a business-driven carnival that it feels like something really worth fighting against. Actions like this aren’t pie-in-the-sky or far-fetched. If 40 well-known artists whose work is in the collection signed a petition protesting the plans, it might have a real effect. This is MoMA’s Robert Moses moment, and five decades ago, artists were key to stopping his Lower Manhattan Expressway from being built. By the end of May, the problematic American Folk Art Museum on the MoMA site will likely be torn down, to be replaced with an even worse building for art. Then construction will begin. If this scheme is not stopped immediately, it’s going to go ahead.

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