Having recently seen an exhibit of folk art in Paris — in a very different kind of museum space — I must say that based on an impression given from images alone, I wonder if the American Folk Art Museum as designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects was ever appropriate for the genre. Having said that, it certainly appears to be a handsome building.
Under the guise of art, architecture is a strange pursuit: its creators (and I speak here of a whole team of architects/engineers/landscape architects/designers/craftsmen) have no guarantee that their work will not be changed moments after turning over the keys. Even I worry of the embedded energy, human and otherwise, that went into shaping our homes over the years — although I too might be involved in further changes and tweaks over time.
I can also see how this new acquisition by MoMA does not fit well into their needs. So my question then is: why did you buy a Quattroporte when you needed a box truck? Yes, I get it — location, location, location. The waste makes me ache on so many levels.
And yes, that the American Museum of Folk Art built a Quattroporte for art that should perhaps be in a folk building — to continue the vehicle analogy, a beat-up pickup — was not sufficiently questioned at the start. Like a person who is newly wealthy might do, the America Folk Art Museum built something which made them newly poor.
MoMA is being hammered by many architectural journals but, unfortunately or not, we will forget this year when they left a party drunk and wrapped a friend’s car around a tree.