After more than two years of in-depth planning and gradual work with architects at New York City firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Museum of Modern Art announced Tuesday it will close this summer to execute the final stages of its 40,000 square-foot expansion. The home stretch of the $400 million overhaul will take place between June 17 and October 20 of 2019, with the museum closing to the general public on June 15 and reopening on October 21.
The design, executed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in partnership with Gensler, broadens the museum’s approach to featuring the diverse array of artwork in its collection. This includes the addition of The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, a performance space that will be situated at the heart of the museum, a second-floor educational space called The Paula and James Crown Platform, and street-level galleries that will be free and open to the public. Additionally, most of the museum's galleries will be reconfigured to no longer be medium-specific.
In addition to democratizing access to the museum’s collection through public galleries, the expansion will be accompanied by a renewed curatorial focus on the museum’s extensive holdings of work by artists of color.
The inaugural exhibition lineup includes a survey of abstract paintings and sculptures by Latin American artists from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. A Betye Saar exhibition called "The Legends of Black Girls Window" will explore the connections between the artist’s celebrated autobiographical sculpture, Black Girls Window, and the shared themes of family and mysticism prevalent in her printed work.
Meanwhile, the work of Kenyan-born painter Michael Armitage, whose depictions of East Africa critique socio-political discourse from a global perspective, will be first on display in the free, public galleries.
“A new generation of curators is discovering the richness of what is in our collection, and there is great work being made around the world that we need to pay attention to,” the museum’s director, Glenn D. Lowry, told the New York Times. “It means that the usual gets supplanted now by the unexpected.”