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The Frick Collection May Move to the Met Breuer

Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times writes that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is in discussions to turn over the Met Breuer to the Frick Collection. The venture would begin in 2020. For the Met, the transition marks a change from using the Met Breuer as a temporary exhibition space for modern and contemporary art to expanding that kind of programming in its Fifth Avenue location. “Our future is in the main building,” Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive, said.

Ian Wardropper, the Frick’s director, said of the change that “It gives us a chance to think ahead when it comes to reinstalling the collection.” The Met will retain financial responsibility for the Breuer, which belongs to the Whitney Museum of American Art, effectively subleasing it to the Frick. The Frick will pay a portion of that overhead under the agreement. This arrangement would save the Met a total of about $45 million.

For the Frick, the Breuer building will allow continued public access to its own collection, exhibitions, library, and education programs while its home on East 70th Street is being renovated. The Frick expects to begin operating at the Breuer in 2020 after receiving public approval of its building project. “If we’re closed for two-plus years, what happens to our visitorship, our membership, do people forget about us?” Wardropper said. “Here, we’ll be able to stay open almost seamlessly.”

The Met also stated that it is moving forward with the renovation of its modern and contemporary galleries, pursuing a more financially humble design by the architect David Chipperfield than the one formerly planned. Weiss said the renovation was likely to cost under $500 million, as opposed to a former approximation of nearly $600 million. “We have continued to be in very deep discussions and have come up with an early version of a revision of the design for the modern wing,” Weiss said, adding that it would be “less about restaurants and park entrances.”