Liz Diller: “It’s a damn shame that the building is obdurate,” she said.
The panelists included Cathleen McGuigan, editor of Architectural Record; Jorge Otero-Pailos, an architect and preservation theorist; Nicolai Ouroussoff, the former New York Times architecture critic; Stephen Rustow, a principal of the design firm Museoplan; and Karen Stein, an architectural consultant.
“You collect architecture, you advocate for architecture, you are faced with an important work of architecture — what do you do with it?” Ms. Stein said.
“I would expect Walmart to tear it down,” she added. “But I expect something better from MoMA.”
Mr. Ouroussoff said the interests of MoMA had to be balanced with the interests of preservation, taking into account that the Folk Art building has long been considered problematic.
“We’re not talking about a Mies building or a building by Louis Kahn,” he said. “I would place it somewhere in the lineage of 2 Columbus Circle or the New Museum. “It is a difficult place to show art,” he added.
At the end of the evening, written questions were collected from the audience, several of which Mr. Kroloff read aloud. One of them asked whether MoMA’s decision regarding the Folk Art building conflicted with its artistic mission.
“Architecture is different from painting and sculpture,” Mr. Lowry said. “We don’t collect buildings and we don’t collect them for a reason.”