If you're not caught up on the whole Museum of Modern Art expansion thing and the plan to demolition the old American Folk Art Museum building, click here to read a great piece written by our own Nick Schonberger that explains the situation and why it's important. The latest bit of news is that MoMA will in fact keep the front of the building, a 82-foot-high patchwork wall constructed a copper-bronze alloy, but the rest of it will still have to go. For some who were against the plans from the start, this could be seen as a "compromise," but for others it's more like salt in their wounds.
To clarify, when they say that they will "keep" the panels, they don't mean in the sense that it will remain standing and the new building will exist behind it (a dumb practice that New Yorkers have seen in the past with historic churches and institutions like New York University). Instead, the wall will be dismantled and stored. "We have made no decision about what happens subsequently, other than the fact that we’ll have it and it will be preserved,” museum director Glenn D. Lowry told the Times.
Elizabeth Diller, one of the architects hired by MoMA for the expansion, commented that leaving only the facade wouldn't make sense, explaining that "you either have the integrity of a building, with all its intelligence and connected ideas, or you don’t... but if you just detach a symbol of what it meant — away from its body, its logic, its intelligence — it feels very empty.” So in the end, we will have to wait and see what becomes of the panels. Maybe, like many artifacts, they won't be seen by the public until decades have passed and people have forgotten, or they'll be displayed in some commemorative exhibition within the shiny new structure. Either way, dumpsters or storage, the damage is done.