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An Exciting Milestone for the Redesign of The Met’s Galleries for Modern and Contemporary Art

Since its founding over 150 years ago, The Met has been a vital center for the art and artists of its time. As part of our commitment to the responsible stewardship of the museum’s world-class collection of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, we are planning the complete transformation of our existing modern and contemporary wing. Named the Oscar L. and HM Agnes Hsu-Tang Wing in favor of the couple’s historic lead gift of $125 million, the new wing will create galleries that are better accessible to staff and visitors, and that enable the Museum to highlight the diverse array of artists and narratives represented in the collection, inviting everyone to feel at home at The Met.

This week we reached a remarkable milestone. We’re excited to share that we’ve raised record donations and have the support of City Hall and many officials for our long-planned renovation of wing. This critical support propels forward our plans to transform our outdated wing into a world-class home for the Museum’s renowned holdings of 20th- and 21st-century art, and create galleries where all New Yorkers can see themselves reflected in the works on view.

The Met’s bold new vision for the Tang Wing is designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, the first woman to design a new wing in the Museum’s 154-year history. Her design will weave the Tang Wing into the Museum’s campus and one of the great works of public art—Central Park. The new wing will remain within the existing wing’s footprint and be no higher than the original building the Museum is built around. Replacing the aging 120,000-square-foot wing with a new 125,000-square-foot building will create much-needed additional gallery space by rethinking and reconfiguring existing infrastructure and layouts. The wing will also improve the visitor experience by smoothing the transitions between galleries and by creating dynamic spaces for the exhibition of art of varying scales and media, thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces, and areas for expanded educational and community programming. The project will utilize cutting-edge sustainable design practices, with an eye to reducing its carbon footprint. Construction is expected to generate 4,000 union jobs, targeting 30-40 percent Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise participation, and the new wing is expected to open in 2029.

The value the new wing will bring to our communities and beyond is clear. And I am deeply grateful to our many donors and supporters for their commitment to this critical improvement for The Met and New York and thrilled to have Frida Escobedo bringing her inspired vision to the design.

This is an exciting moment to celebrate with our Met community and we look forward to providing additional updates on Frida’s design in the months ahead.

Below are a few words of support that demonstrate the incredible enthusiasm that I wanted to share.

“Our artists and creative economy are the heart and soul of New York City, and the cornerstone of our economic rebound,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art stands as a beacon of art, history, and inspiration for New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe and helps strengthen New York City’s reputation as the cultural capital of the world. As evidenced by our recent $22 million investment in cultural organizations across the five boroughs, our administration values ​​institutions like The Met and applauds its efforts to expand the Museum’s world-class collection.”

“The Met has long been part of Central Park’s identity, and the art displayed in its collections complements the beauty and complexity of the natural world on display in the park,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This administration values ​​our city’s world-class cultural institutions, and we congratulate The Met on reaching this milestone.”

The Met’s Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Candace K. Beinecke and Hamilton (“Tony”) E. James remarked, “this important project will allow The Met to better present its outstanding collection and expand the ways it reflects the diversity of New York City and the world for its local and global audiences. It will be a crown jewel and a global draw for New York City.”

“The new Tang Wing will be a world-class addition to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, providing a unique platform to tell the diverse stories of artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries,” said New York City Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I’m excited that the new galleries will be designed by Frida Escobedo, whose vision will be on display for the entire world to see and enjoy. I congratulate The Metropolitan Museum of Art for reaching this important milestone, and I look forward to visiting the new Tang Wing upon completion to celebrate this historic project.”

“More than 150 years ago, The Met helped to create the model for how New York City works with the cultural institutions that thrive here to provide world-class facilities and arts programming that engages New Yorkers and attracts visitors from far and wide,” said New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “This new wing will mark the next phase in this historic partnership, giving The Met’s contemporary collections a fitting home for the first time. This project will also create thousands of jobs while building on The Met’s commitment to connecting audiences with artwork that spans global history. Congratulations on this important milestone.”

New York City Council Member and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee Carlina Rivera said, “The Met’s new Tang Wing is New York City at its best. The commitment to representing and uplifting diverse artists in what will be a stunning new gallery space is the exact kind of project our city’s culture needs to flourish. I applaud The Met and Frida Escobedo on pursuing a project that will be the pride of all New Yorkers.”

“The reimagined Tang Wing will make history with Frida Escobedo at the helm as the first woman to design a wing for the 154-year-old New York City institution. The Met plays such a critical role in our city and on the Upper East Side —driving millions of visitors to the area each year. Congratulations on an important milestone!” stated New York City Council Member Keith Powers.

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, stated, “While The Met has long been a haven of art and creativity, certain artists and cultures have historically been underrepresented. This project signals an important commitment to expanding and diversifying the stories told by the art and artists the Museum displays. The Tang Wing project is critical to The Met’s mission to connect all people to art and ideas, and the new galleries will lift up ever more diverse voices and vibrant works of art.”

Artist and Met Trustee Jordan Casteel commented, “The Tang Wing will provide a thoughtful space for artists like me, long inspired by many of the iconic works of art displayed here but not always represented in its galleries. The transformed wing will create a space where everyone can gather and see their likeness and communities reflected in the works on view.”

Frida Escobedo said, “Situated in Central Park, a masterpiece in itself, the Tang Wing will draw on its surrounding context, while also breathing new life into The Met’s 20th and 21st-century collections. By weaving these connections with other areas in the Museum, we can acknowledge and celebrate the common threads that span different times, geographies, and ideologies. We eagerly anticipate continued collaboration with the Met’s team as the design takes shape, providing a home for culture that belongs to all.”

“Today’s announcement marks a major milestone in not only improving one of New York’s most iconic institutions, but also creating thousands of good paying union construction careers,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “This significant investment in a treasured public asset will open countless opportunities for hardworking New Yorkers to pursue the middle class and support their families, all while giving visitors of The Met an elevated experience. We look forward to partnering with the Museum to advance their vision for the Tang Wing, which will serve as a boon for the city, its economy, and tradesmen and tradeswomen from across the five boroughs.”

Header image credit: Filip Wolak