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New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Carlos Delgado/Wikipedia Commons.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Carlos Delgado/Wikipedia Commons.

Metropolitan Museum of Art to Renovate Modern Wing with $125 Million Gift

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced yesterday that it had received a pledge of $125 million from activist collectors Oscar Tang and Agnes Hsu-Tang. The promised gift is the largest monetary donation in the history of the institution, and is earmarked for the renovation of the museum’s Modern Wing, which will expand to include 80,000 square feet of exhibition and public space and will be rechristened the Oscar L. Tang and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang Wing.

The Met has sought for more than a decade to renovate its Modern Wing. “The reimagining of these galleries will allow the Museum to approach twentieth-  and twenty-first-century art from a global, encyclopedic, bold, and surprising perspective—all values that reflect the legacy of Oscar and Agnes,” said museum director Max Hollein. A committee of museum leaders and trustees is tasked with selecting an architecture firm for the project by winter 2022.

“With this remarkable gift, Oscar and Agnes are enabling The Met to realize its ambitious mission for future generations,” said Daniel H. Weiss, the museum’s president and CEO. “Their generosity—while breathtaking in its scope and vision—is no surprise, as it is an extension of their decades-long support of our Museum. Indeed, for 151 years, The Met’s foundation was built precisely in this fashion—from the support of extraordinary individuals who have the vision and passion to make it possible for all New Yorkers, as well as visitors from around the world, to experience art from across 5,000 years of human history.”

Oscar Tang, now trustee emeritus, was the first American of Asian descent to serve on the museum’s board, which he joined in 1994. The founder of New York–based asset management firm Tang and Reich, the Shanghai-born Tang arrived in the United States at the age of eleven for schooling, his family having fled mainland China for Hong Kong in 1948 as the Communist revolution surged. “America gave me refuge and the education and opportunities to succeed,” said Tang, saying of the couple’s gift, “I wanted to share the richness of my Chinese heritage with America and the world.”

Archaeologist and art historian Agnes Hsu-Tang is senior research scholar at Columbia University and board chair-elect of the New-York Historical Society, whose exhibitions committee she has led since 2015. In a joint statement with her husband, Hsu-Tang noted, “Having witnessed the turbulent times that many continue to endure, we find The Metropolitan Museum of Art to be an exemplary guardian and presenter of artistic heritages across cultures and time. Contemporary art transcends entrenched notions of borders and identities and documents histories of the present. As Americans of Chinese heritage, we are honored to bestow this gift to galvanize progress—for The Met, for New York, and for the country to which we belong.”