Crusade commenced to convince MoMA not to demolish American Folk Art Museum

The former Museum of American Folk Art, left,

The former Museum of American Folk Art, left, stands next to MoMa. (Getty) (Credit: The former Museum of American Folk Art, left, stands next to MoMa. (Getty))

Can it be saved?

A grassroots crusade to persuade MoMA not to tear down the architecturally significant 12-year-old American Folk Art Museum at 45 W. 53rd St. has erupted, igniting the passion of architects, designers, preservationists and ordinary citizens.

Two petitions are circulating on, one with more than 2,000 signatures and another with more than 1,400, imploring MoMA Director Glenn Lowry not to raze the lustrous building with an undulating bronze exterior that swept the World Architecture Awards and won numerous prizes.

Architectural critic Martin Filler called MoMA's decision "architectural vandalism" in The New York Review of Books.

Others have said the decision has cost MoMA its credibility as a cultural institution.

"It's just shocking that an institution that is supposed to represent art and design is working to destroy a building that is very architecturally significant," said Quilian Riano, an acting professor at Parsons The New School of Design and founder of DSGN AGNC in Long Island City.

Riano and his friends started a viral campaign at, for design professionals to show MoMA how the structure could be neatly incorporated into MoMA's existing structures.

"If one of the leading arts institutions of NYC can throw away a valuable thing to fit a predetermined aesthetic, what is to stop developers from doing this in Chinatown and Bushwick," and other NYC neighborhoods? Riano added.

Treating the building as "disposable" does violence to the principles that good designers observe, he added.


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