Under Proposed Deal, Met Breuer Would Be Taken Over by Frick Collection in 2020

The Met Breuer.


Plans are in the works to temporarily move New York’s Frick Collection to the current home of the Met Breuer, which the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been leasing from the Whitney Museum as an annex for its contemporary art program since 2016. The plan, currently under what a Met press release described as “in discussions,” would take hold in late 2020 while the Frick’s home on 70th Street undergoes renovations. The deal would move the Frick to the Breuer building for the last three years of the Met’s previously signed eight-year lease.

In a statement, Ian Wardropper, the Frick’s director, said, “The Frick has been exploring ways to ensure that our visitors can continue to enjoy our collections and have access to our library resources and education programs, as we look forward to the renovation of our home. Collaborating with the Met on a temporary initiative at the Breuer building would enable us to do just that.”

The Met has occupied the Breuer building since 2016, when it kicked off its annex programming with “Unfinished,” a survey of works throughout the years that had been left incomplete by their artists. Met shows would continue there through mid-2020; the last show currently planned for the space is a Gerhard Richter exhibition set to open in March 2020.

The Met has recently come under fire for its financial troubles attributed in part to its expansion-minded activities in the Breuer Building. In a New York Times report today, Daniel H. Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive, said that, were the deal to go through (pending public approval of the Frick’s building plan), the arrangement—by which the Met would sublease the Breuer to the Frick—would save the Met $45 million.

In the same Times report, Weiss also said the Met would be going through with its plan to rebuild the modern and contemporary galleries at its main base on Fifth Avenue, with a price tag adjusted downward to $500 million (from earlier estimates of $600 million).

In the press release, Weiss said, “Our objective in expanding our programming to the Met Breuer was to present the modern collection and other strengths of our encyclopedic holdings, and to enable our curators to organize cutting-edge exhibitions. We are extremely pleased with the visitor response and critical acclaim for these programs and look forward to building on what we have learned in the years ahead at the Met Fifth Avenue.”

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