MoMA completes merger with PS1

“It is like another department at the museum,” says MoMA director Glenn Lowry

The Museum of Modern Art completes its merger in January with PS1, the institution’s contemporary art branch in Queens. PS1, located in an abandoned public school, was founded as a venue for contemporary art in 1976. In 2000 it became affiliated with MoMA and has presented exhibitions that would not be possible in MoMA’s midtown home, such as the large-scale survey of emerging artists, “Greater New York”. When the collaboration began, MoMA became responsible for PS1’s fundraising, exhibitions, and the appointment of its board. However, to preserve the institution’s independence, MoMA agreed to re-appoint all of PS1’s existing trustees for seven years, while adding nine new ones. Next month, the automatic re-appointments conclude and MoMA effectively takes control of the institution. The chairman of PS1’s separate board is collector Peter Norton, who is also a MoMA trustee. “It is like another department at the museum,” says MoMA director Glenn Lowry, noting that PS1 founder, Alanna Heiss, serves as a deputy director of MoMA. “We have no intention of altering the vibrant programme that Alanna Heiss has been developing over the last 30 years,” says Mr Lowry. But it seems inevitable that PS1 will gradually become less an independent satellite and more an extension of MoMA’s operation. Mr Lowry says MoMA plans to install climate-control systems on the third floor of PS1 “to make it show works from our collection”.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 175 December 2006