The Frick Collection Will Reopen in the Old Met Breuer Building Early Next Year, Rechristened ‘the Frick Madison’

The Frick moves into the building that once housed the Whitney and the Met Breuer.

The Met Breuer. Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images.
The Met Breuer. Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images.

The Frick Collection is officially moving into 945 Madison Avenue, most recently home of the short-lived Met Breuer and, before that, the Whitney Museum of American Art. Dubbed Frick Madison, the space will serve as a temporary home for the historic collection while the grounds of the Henry Clay Frick House on Manhattan’s Upper East Side undergo an extensive renovation and expansion.

The design was the subject of contentious public meetings that centered around the preservation of the landmark building, especially the Russell Page-designed trompe l’oeil garden. In June 2018, architect Annabelle Selldorf finally got the go-ahead for the $160 million plan, which will break ground in early 2021.

Visitors familiar with the Frick’s jewel-box display will be surprised to encounter at the new location paintings and sculptures installed according to chronology and geography, a first for the institution. The new curatorial approach is a stark contrast to its traditional manner of exhibitions, particularly since they’ll be seen in the context of Marcel Breuer’s brutalist building, rather than the intimate, softly-lit setting of the Henry Frick House.

“We’ve learned that you can’t fight Brutalism—you have to work with it,” Frick director Ian Wardropper told the Art Newspaperadding that the idea was to allow “the paintings and sculptures and decorative arts to speak for themselves” without the context of the gilded-age mansion on Museum Mile.

The installation at Frick Madison is being created by Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon with curator Aimee Ng.

Highlights of the Frick’s collection will be on display from early 2021 through 2022.


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