The axe is set to fall on the American Folk Art Museum -- after months of controversy and protest, MoMA initiated its expansion and began preparing the FAM for demolition this past Monday. As per prior concessions by MoMA, the museum's distinctive façade will be preserved, but it's unlikely to abate the sour feelings of those who oppose both the loss of the FAM, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's expansion designs.
When MoMA first announced it would raze the FAM in April of 2013, the news resonated not only as a blow to preservationism and sustainability, but as an issue of architectural ethics and institutional monopolies. #folkmoma became a rallying post for protest and alternative proposals, and the widespread news coverage brought architectural drama to the front page.
But pro-con feuding aside, the Folk/MoMA issue implicates difficult questions of architecture's responsibilities -- to preservation, sustainability, other architects, and the public’s opinion. Architects and Archinect contributors Ken Koense and Donna Sink, inspired by fervent online discussions, proposed that Archinect host a discussion to tease out the precedents this decision sets. Joining Ken and Donna in the panel are Quilian Riano, co-founder (along with Ana María León) of the #folkMoMA movement, and Lee Rosenbaum, who writes about art museums for the Wall Street Journal.
The following is a selected portion of our panel discussion, moderated by myself and Paul Petrunia, Archinect's founder and director. The recording starts with Quilian talking about the conception of the #folkMoMA movement...