Yesterday the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it would be undertaking a major revamping of its public space on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, with the grand staircase, the long-switched off fountains, the hot dog and pretzel carts and the art vendors. The steps will stay, but everything else is open to re-thinking and/or removal. Mega-rich libertarian David H. Koch is footing the bill for initial design costs, with architecture firm OLIN heading up the project, but obviously we have five really fucking good ideas about how the space should be used.
Bring the Temple of Dendur outdoors: Exposing the looted (it is looted, right?) Egyptian temple to the elements (and New York City hieroglyphers, ie. graffiti artists) is by far the coolest thing the Met could do with its plaza. That would also free up its biggest indoor space for badly needed new galleries.
War Scene with Objects from the Arms and Armor Collection: Nothing says “We’re a really badass museum and we’d own you in a jousting duel!” like a perpetual knights vs. samurai battle on your front steps. Samurai FTW!
Interactive outdoor musical installation: There are some really esoteric instruments in the Met’s musical collection, like, for instance, the 19th century Chinese Goqing pictured above, which was traditionally used to sound the arrival and rank of guests. One ring for tourists, two rings for New Yorkers, three rings for visiting UN dignitaries skipping the lines.
Artist’s studio: Okay, this one is serious, and inspired in part by the Centre Pompidou’s Atelier Brancusi space, a project pavilion adjacent to the actual museum in which special exhibition are mounted in a space designed after Constantin Brancusi’s studio. Here, a small, new building (likely impossible due to landmark restrictions) would host installations that recreate the studios of famous artists throughout history, and occasionally would be given over to a living artist for a six-month residency.
Weatherproof selections from the Costume Institute collection: Like a cruel endurance test for the museum’s costume conservators, outerwear from the collection would be set up outdoors for public display, like Miss Anne Fogarty‘s 1967 rain ensemble (left), the unknown raincoat from the 1890s (center) and the shiny gold 1914 rain coat (at right).
No budget has been released for the project, which is expected to be completed by 2015.