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Fall Arts Preview | OUT OF TOWN

Moving back to MoMA's house

September 19, 2004|Louise Roug

It's one of the most anticipated moves to Manhattan. After two years -- and an $850-million expenditure -- the Museum of Modern Art returns this fall to West 53rd Street from temporary digs in Queens.

Since its inception in 1929 with an initial gift of eight prints and a drawing, the collection has grown to one of the world's premiere art collections, with more than 135,000 pieces of modern art and design. To house this ever-growing trove, the museum has undergone successive face-lifts: a new wing designed by Philip Johnson in 1964, a renovation by Cesar Pelli and Associates in 1984. Responsible for the expansion completed this year is Yoshio Taniguchi.

"As opposed to designing one thing of beauty, I designed a museum within a city -- a city within a city," the architect told Terence Riley, the museum's chief curator of architecture and design. Explaining how he wanted to create an environment and make the architecture "go away," Taniguchi used the Japanese tea ceremony as metaphor: "The teacup for the ceremony is very simple in form and very subdued in color. But once the tea's poured, the teacup transforms into a whole new object. So it's not the object alone that's important, but the total -- the temperature of the tea, its color, its smell. That's the environment."

Taniguchi's design almost doubles the size of the exhibition space with galleries clustered around a 110-foot atrium.

This fall, one of the first shows in the new Taniguchi-designed museum will be "Nine Museums by Yoshio Taniguchi."

Designed by a Japanese architect, this Chinese puzzle opens its doors Nov. 20.

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