New York, New York – one helluva town – home to some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, parks, shops, music venues and art galleries and, in summer, swelteringly hot and full of non-New Yorkers. This summer though, while many things in the Big Apple will be as expected, there is one thing visitors won’t be able to experience and that’s the glory of the city’s Museum of Modern Art – one of the most prestigious and most visited art institutions in the world since it opened its doors eight decades ago.
That’s because MoMA will be in the final stages of its $400 million renovation and is undergoing a change that’s so radical that its board is willing to lose the millions in tourist revenue it would usually accrue in favour of making a concerted final push to unveil its new curatorial approach in October. As the New York Times reports, “The Picassos and Van Goghs will still be there, but the 40 000 square feet of additional space will allow MoMA to focus new attention on works by women, Latinos, Asians, African-Americans and other overlooked artists.”
It’s taken MoMA some time but the museum’s recognition of a changing and more inclusive idea of modern art is to be welcomed and its expansion and new curatorial policies will recognise this. As museum director Glenn Lowry told The Times, “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 … It means that the usual gets supplanted now by the unexpected.”