Six hundred and fifty people came out that evening to remember the American Folk Art Museum building, an unusual show of solidarity in the often-cleaved New York architecture community. “The Folk Art Museum was part of our lives here, not just its facade but its presence on the street,” said panelist Cathleen McGuigan, the editor-in-chief of Architectural Record. Construction of the Folk Art Museum unified the city’s architecture community, she observed, at another critical moment too, when it first opened three months after 9/11.
It should be MoMA’s responsibility to ensure that this structure’s short but significant history is preserved after the building is leveled. Why not, for example, stage an exhibition about the building, its historic significance, and the reasons for its eventual demolition, compiling the displayed materials into an archive for future historians and critics? That would do more than Lowry’s terse statements on Tuesday to convince the architecture community and the public that MoMA has thoroughly considered the consequences of its actions.1