MoMA as Momma

When modernism began, it included a sense of possibility, and the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art in New York City certainly pushes that idea forward. MoMA - whose collections of art and design arguably make it the mother of all modern art museums - is doubling in size.

Reopening Nov. 20, just in time for its 75th anniversary, MoMA will offer visitors a fresh look at its incredibly influential collection in some 125,000 square feet of minimalist-inspired exhibition space.

And how nice that the new building wasn't designed as another icon that might have one-upped the art inside. The project is the work of Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, his first US effort. Its bento-box design features elegantly simple black marble and green slate construction, including light-filled, column-free galleries.

MoMA was founded in 1929 as an alternative to traditional museums. Its primary Bauhaus influence hasn't disappeared, but the museum's collection - items include the Apple iPod, a 1945 Bell-47D1 helicopter, and a carbon Kevlar and urethane kayak, in addition to Monet's "Water Lilies" and Andy Warhol's soup cans - gets a lot more breathing room.

At a cost of $858 million, MoMA's new home didn't come cheap. Tickets cost $20, and that works against making modern art broadly accessible. Still, the museum's new space should allow for more creative display of the wide range of modernist innovations MoMA has been known for all along.

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