Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 11/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
When New York's Museum of Modern Art unveiled its $425 million main building by Taniguchi and Associates two years ago, art and architecture lovers all had an opinion. But few seemed to mention that the project wasn't finished yet. A crucial piece remained missing, namely the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, opening November 28.
Part of Yoshio Taniguchi's master plan, the eight-story 63,000-square-foot building looks like a smaller version of the museum on the outside: It's clad in aluminum and black granite. If Pablo Picasso's bronze She-Goat were to peer inside the tall glass windows from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, she would see an airy, minimalist interior that packs in the museum's library and archives plus two theaters, three classrooms, a staff lunchroom, and curatorial offices.
Most noticeable is the atrium, an approximately 20-foot-high space with a red 1990 Ferrari race car mounted high on a wall opposite Elizabeth Murray's exuberant 19-panel abstraction of a painter's palette. "We intentionally showcased different kinds of work—design, painting, printing," explains Peter Reed, MoMA's senior deputy director for curatorial affairs. The "printing" part of that combination comes into play with Andy Warhol's 1966 Cow screen-print wallpaper, which, er, grazes nearly the entire two-story surface behind the floating stair.