Published: June 4, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — After announcing expansion plans a year ago that drew opposition from East Side neighbors, artists and preservationists alike, The Frick Collection has withdrawn plans to build atop its viewing garden fronting East 70th Street and will develop a new plan to meet its space needs.
“One year ago, The Frick Collection announced its plans for a building expansion to address the institution’s longstanding programmatic needs and better serve a visiting public that has grown substantially over the years,” said Frick Collection Director Ian Wardropper in a statement. “To realize this vision, the plan involved building on a lot that included the viewing garden on East 70th Street by landscape architect Russell Page.”
“After months of public dialogue and thoughtful consideration and weighing the potential for a protracted approval process against the Frick’s pressing needs, the Board of Trustees has decided to approach the expansion plan in a way that avoids building on the garden site,” the statement reads.
In a May 5 letter to city officials, artists Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Frank Stella and others, wrote, “This ensemble the Frick wishes to raze, composed of the Reception Hall Pavilion and the Russell Page-designed Viewing Garden on East 70th Street, is a masterstroke of the evolving museum’s design, positioning the mansion in counterpoint to the Manhattan street grid, and optimizing the ‘house museum’ experience. Replacing the hall and garden with an institutional 106-foot tower will indeed destroy the famed Frick experience for artists and art lovers around the world.”
The Frick Collection will now go back to the drawing boards, literally, and come up with a new plan that “preserves the unique residential character and intimate scale of the Frick” to meet its space needs identified as additional room for displaying artworks, including galleries on the second floor of the Beaux-Arts mansion, classrooms and updating its facilities and access between the museum and its reference library.
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