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The Frick Collection loses a garden and gains an addition

Frick Collection to be expanded
Frick Collection to be expanded
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Many New Yorkers feel that the garden outside The Frick Collection is one of its most prized treasures. The East 70th Street museum will soon be without its lush grounds in favor of an expansion. The New York Times claims that The New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission should turn down the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion, added The New York Times yesterday (July 30). For more about the expansion visit http://www.nytimes.com.

The Frick's press announcement, added The Huffington Post, that the "new addition, which will provide the institution with a net gain of 42,000 square feet, will house more gallery space, an expanded entrance hall, additional space for the Frick's world-renowned art reference library, new classrooms, a 220-seat auditorium, expanded administrative space, and updated conservation laboratories, as well as a rooftop garden terrace for museum visitors." For more on the original story visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com.

The plan, announced last month, added yesterday's Times, "ran into early headwinds." "New Yorkers have seen the consequences of trustee restlessness and real estate magical thinking, which destroy or threaten to undo favorite buildings. Not so long ago, the Morgan Library & Museum, another Gilded Age landmark, built an addition that flopped. The New York Public Library wanted to disembowel its historic building at 42nd Street before thinking better of it," added the article.

"The Museum of Modern Art’s demolition of the American Folk Art Museum building, a once-cherished institution but today the object of widespread derision, is probably what finally tipped some invisible scale of public tolerance against the culture of market capitalism and arrogant growth," added the The Times report. "The city’s truest anti-MoMA, the Frick becomes the latest front in a larger battle to prevent nonprofit outposts of civilization from falling prey to the bigger-is-better paradigm."

The Frick's press announcement states that the "new addition, which will provide the institution with a net gain of 42,000 square feet, will house more gallery space, an expanded entrance hall, additional space for the Frick's world-renowned art reference library, new classrooms, a 220-seat auditorium, expanded administrative space, and updated conservation laboratories, as well as a rooftop garden terrace for museum visitors."

My Opinion:

As a graduate art education student, I am sorry to see the loss of the garden. However in today's tough economy, old-age museum institutions like the Frick Collection need to modernize and become more accessible to the masses in order to survive. I see the logic but mourn the loss of what many felt was a great club for the art elite. By modernizing and expanding it becomes a big deal with the middle classes and thus an accessible place for art historians and artists alike. I have to opt in favor of modernization and progress however. Without progress and modernization great museums like the Frick Collection become dinosaurs and thereby obsolete. Let's hope the proposed expansion keeps it in the news for many years to come and relevant to the many. Shouldn't everyone enjoy great art? Tell us your opinion Staten Island arts enthusiasts. We at Examiner would like to know!