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Frick Museum plans a major expansion

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The Frick Collection, a Museum located on East 70th Street in New York is planning a major expansion that should increase its gallery space significantly, Examiner has learned. The New York Times today reported that the museum is increasing in size which marks a rebound economically since the downturn the museum industry experienced a few years ago. For more on this story visit www.nytimes.com.

For Staten Island arts enthusiasts unfamiliar with The Frick Collection, the museum is known for its "intimate, jewel-box galleries, adds The Times. According to the report, it is planning to make a major announcement today that will add a "six-story wing." This should increase the museum's space and open "private upstairs rooms."

Other Museum News

In New York City, Staten Island Arts fans, the Times reports that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) are planning new wings, while the Whitney Museum of American Art is nearing completion on an entirely new building.

"The proposed addition to the Frick Collection building would include major new space plus the reconstruction of an existing section near the East 70th Street entrance," adds The Times. "Critics of other expansions — like MoMA’s — have called them unnecessary, too expensive or even hubristic," according to the report. “We and our public revere the authenticity, the intimacy of the space,” said Ian Wardropper, the The Frick's director to The Times. “So this is a responsibility we take very seriously.”

"The project — which would increase space by nearly a third — will also require the approval of city landmark officials because it entails adding to the mansion, and is likely to draw scrutiny from some neighbors who live on the quiet residential blocks surrounding it," added The Times.

The Frick’s current spaces are simply not big enough to accommodate larger visitor numbers who are interested in The Frick's exhibitions like 2013's paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, which featured Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” and Fabritius’s “The Goldfinch.”

"Lines for that show snaked around the block and visitors jammed the entrance. Annual attendance, typically around 300,000, spiked to 420,000 last year, and the museum’s concerts and lectures often have overflow crowds," added The Times.“We sell out on a regular basis and have to turn people away,” Mr. Wardropper said to the newspaper today.

Frick officials said to the Times that "the new design, by Davis Brody Bond, the architecture firm behind the interior of the new National September 11 Memorial Museum, was intended to be sensitive to the integrity of one of New York’s beloved historic buildings. It would retain the Beaux-Arts vernacular of the original home and use the same Indiana limestone."

About The Frick

"The building has undergone few changes since it was built. After Frick died in 1919 — and his wife, Adelaide, in 1931 — alterations were made by the architect John Russell Pope and the collection was opened to the public in 1935," states The Times. "In 1977, the museum added its entrance lobby, and two years ago converted an outdoor portico into indoor space. There have been three previous attempts to expand the museum in recent years, in 2001, 2005 and 2008."

This new expansions, added the report, would significantly expand the museum's space, utilizing space that is not now open to the public. “We are a museum and a library,” Mr. Wardropper said to the Times. “Yet physically we’ve been separated all these years.”

"The renovation would include more office space for the full-time staff, which has grown to about 220 from about 160 over the last 25 years," states The Times. "But officials emphasized that this renovation will leave the core experience of visiting the Frick unchanged."

Up until now The Frick has been a little known secret among museum devotees. This expansion should make the museum accessible to a larger assortment of people from all walks of life interested in enjoying great art in a more consumer-friendly setting than The Frick currently entertains. This should be an expansion that should increase the museum's reach to a greater number of visitors each year. Stay tuned for more news as it develops!

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