Posts tagged with "The Frick":

NYC library cardholders can now visit dozens of museums for free

This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.

Revised Frick expansion clears Landmarks but still faces challenges

A revised scheme for the Selldorf Architects-designed expansion of Manhattan’s Frick Collection with Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) acting as executive architects has gained approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). While commissioners voiced their concern over the addition’s fenestration and whether enough was done to move the proposed programming underground, they ultimately voted to approve the presented plan. That approval still faces resistance from local residents and preservationist groups, including an injunction hearing scheduled for this September that could slow the project down further. In approving the expansion, landmarks commissioners noted the support the project had drawn from the public, including from architects, preservationists, art historians, curators, and landscape architects, but acknowledged they had also received emails in opposition as well. Four grandchildren of Henry Clay Frick have signed letters signaling their support, and the commissioners were quick to mention their prior approval of the more experimental, Jeanne Gang-led expansion at the American Museum of Natural History. Community groups such as the City Club and Landmarks Conservancy have also voiced their support. In the Conservancy's testimony before the LPC, they stated that their Public Policy Committee had “found that the new limestone-clad additions are appropriate in their height, massing, and materials. They draw inspiration from the historic buildings in a respectful manner. The rooftop addition to the Reception Hall will rise gracefully from the building, in the manner of a conservatory. The connecting link is modest, but well-considered. There will be no loss of historic fabric, and while some façade elements of the Library Building will be less visible, they will not be removed or altered by this project.” The original scheme for the Frick's latest expansion was presented at a May 29 hearing where the public was invited to openly comment. Selldorf and BBB had proposed increasing the floor area of the Frick by 10 percent­­­­(18,000 square feet) to provide room for new conservation areas, offices, and gallery spaces with 1,800 of that square footage to be placed underground. Perhaps the most debated portions of the expansion plan touch on the Russell Page-designed garden on East 70th Street which was added in 1977. Installing the proposed 220-seat auditorium below the garden will require removing the garden above and reinstalling it exactly as it was before. The north wall of the 4,100-square-foot garden, part of the 1977 Bayley, Van Dyke & Poehler addition that originally created the garden, is also on the block to be rebuilt. As the scheme calls for the library to rise directly over the garden’s northern wall, a series of hornbeam trees behind the wall that were planted in 2010 (replacing pear trees placed by Page to mask the back of the existing library building) would need to be removed. The original plan had placed the new library almost flush with the north wall, but the trees were ultimately spared in the final version. Annabelle Selldorf was on hand for the follow-up LPC meeting on June 26 and explained that by setting the addition’s massing back three feet from the north wall’s edge, they were able to carve out a shelf behind the cornice for replacement trees. The smaller hornbeams would be located in the same positions as their predecessors and are intended to recreate the trompe l’oeil, the sense that the garden stretches on past its confines, that the current trees bring to the landscape. Selldorf was adamant that shaving three feet off of the addition was the most that can be done, and that tightening the massing any further was impossible due to programmatic requirements. The circular John Russell Pope-designed Music Room, set to be dismantled to make way for more special exhibition space, was briefly discussed as commissioners prodded the Frick to explain why the space couldn’t be repurposed. Museum representatives explained the difficulty in staging exhibitions inside of a round room and the associated temporary architecture required, and that more space was needed to display their collection. The Music Room’s Versailles-patterned wood floors and non-structural wall panels will be reused in the replacement gallery space, and the entire room will be 3D scanned and included in the Frick’s collection. That is, if the room is actually taken apart. As the commissioners noted during this week’s meeting, an active Request for Evaluation (RFE) to designate the Music Room, West Gallery & Enamels Room, and the 1977 Reception Hall as interior landmarks is currently being processed. Questions were raised over whether approving the expansion would preclude the music room’s designation, but commissioners received clarification that the two items were not in conflict with each other. It was entered into the record that the LPC takes a meticulous approach to interior designations and that if the RFE is approved, the scheme will have to be retooled to include a circular music room. Though the commissioners questioned the design team on whether more of the proposed programming could be moved underground­, the plan presented was approved with six votes for, one against, and one commissioner choosing to abstain. The Frick is an individual landmark within the landmarked Upper East Side Historic District, but commissioners highlighted the fact that the Frick Collection is a campus of separate buildings from many different time periods when making their final decision. Opponents have compiled a laundry list of complaints against the Selldorf and BBB plan. The Stop Irresponsible Frick Development (SIFD) coalition, a collection of architects, preservationists, and activists gathered on the steps of City Hall on June 25 to make their voices heard about why the expansion should be halted. Citing the lack of time given to the public to review the revised scheme, the LPC’s failure to consider landmarking the Music Room first, the potential conflict of interest arising from interim LPC chair and BBB partner Fred Bland’s participation in the process, the necessity of the Frick to expand its collection to such a degree, and the addition of a glassy café topper above the reception hall, the group had tried to delay the June 26 vote. Although an emergency temporary restraining order was submitted by the group on June 25 to the State Supreme Court, the judge decided not to grant the measure. However, an injunction hearing has been scheduled for September, which will force the Frick to defend their decisions in court and risks throwing a wrench in the project’s timeline. Preservationist Theodore Grunewald was responsible for filing the Music Room RFE (at the May 29th hearing itself, a first in the Commission's history) arguing that the room deserves to be judged on its own merits. This is the first time that an RFE for a separate part of a project has been raised independently before the LPC. In an op-ed published to the New York Times on June 25, Martha Frick Symington Sanger, a great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick, laid the groups concerns bare. “Let us engage an independent professional to evaluate the feasibility of excavation for proposed new facilities,” wrote Sanger, although the LPC noted that they have, historically, never taken outside design considerations into account when making their decisions. “Revisit the possibility of modernizing and repurposing existing underground facilities; purchase the adjacent, 6,000-square-foot building that is currently on the market for less than 10 percent of the anticipated cost of the current proposal; and seek landmark status for the music room, which could just as easily be preserved as a gallery.” The full presentation given at the June 26 LPC meeting is available here. According to the Frick, construction on the addition will not begin until 2020. AN will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.

The Frick adjusts expansion plans before next Landmarks meeting

The Frick Collection has further tweaked its expansion plans once again following a Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on May 29, where the commission declined to make a decision at that time. Selldorf Architects and executive architects Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) have gone back to the drawing board and have released new renderings of an altered scheme ahead of their next meeting before the commission. The latest scheme addresses–or at least attempts to rationalize–some of the concerns that preservationists and the community had towards the initial proposal to modernize the Upper East Side landmark. Several of the changes proposed in May to the massing of the John Russell Pope addition, and more specifically Russell Page’s 1977 garden, drew the most attention. In order to allow more natural light into the revamped conservation areas, Selldorf and BBB had originally proposed adding a topper to the northern wall of the Russel Page Garden. This will require rebuilding the section and removing the smaller trees planted on top of that wall, dismantling Page’s late addition of a trompe l’oeil garden designed to hide the backs of the adjacent, non-Frick buildings. The revised plan would instead see hornbeams, the same type of tree currently in use, planted behind a modified limestone cornice above the new ground floor windows (which have had operable shutters added to match the existing trellises). The locations of the new trees would attempt to hew as closely to the original plan as possible. The Frick’s plan to dismantle the first floor Music Room and install a special exhibitions area were also elaborated on after preservationists decried the potential loss of auditorium. In notes included with the new scheme, the team explained that the Frick’s mission has always first and foremost been the showcasing of art, and that the conversion of rooms into gallery spaces has historical precedent. The poor acoustic qualities of the auditorium for amplifying speech was highlighted as particularly problematic, as the space is primarily used for holding lectures. The Music Room, if demolished, would be preserved via a 3-D laser scan and photographic survey, with the information added to the Frick’s archive. A modern below-grade auditorium would replace the Music Room and provide more space for lectures, concerts, and other engagements. The room's wood floor and non-structural wall sections would be preserved in the archive as physical artifacts. The Selldorf/BBB team used the opportunity to further elaborate on their plans for expanding the Frick’s subterranean programming. The underground mechanical systems would be upgraded and consolidated and replaced with new gallery and special exhibition spaces, as well as extra back-of-house areas for the staff and new conservation areas. The team explained that their options when planning the underground portion were limited by the site’s plantings and the difficulty associated with creating new required egresses; it wasn't possible, or desired, to cut new exits into the museum's gardens or gallery spaces. AN will follow up on this story when information regarding the next LPC meeting becomes available; the item was originally scheduled to be heard on June 19 but was rescheduled. The full presentation is available here.

AN takes a deep dive into Frick Collection expansion plans

After a major, failed expansion attempt a few years ago, the Frick Collection, that venerable Upper East Side museum and library, revealed its latest renovation plans last month. The Frick tapped Selldorf Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle to bump up the landmarked building's footprint by ten percent, while sinking most of the rest of the program underground. Now, a few days before the architects present their ideas to the city's Landmarks commission for approval, more details on the addition and renovation have emerged. When the Frick went public with Selldorf's design in April, reactions were mixed, but mostly positive. The tallest addition will grow two stories from the building’s music room, while an addition adjacent to the library will top out at the same height as that building. The above-ground additions should preserve sightlines into John Russell Page's gated garden, while a below-ground auditorium and galleries will add give the Frick more space for events and shows. A major goal is to improve the flow between rooms, which will be achieved in part by linking the new second floor galleries with the enlarged lobby and the auditorium beneath the garden. That space is badly needed. The institution is mounting more exhibitions and welcoming more visitors than any time in its history, but its building is strained at the seams. The Frick says its galleries are too packed, and the lightless ones below ground are less appealing to visitors. Wheelchair users must take an unglamorous ride in the service elevator to reach the main entrance. Workers in the conservation areas, meanwhile, labor in dark, cramped offices far from the service elevator. And there's nowhere to get coffee—unlike most other museums, the Frick doesn't have a cafe. Before building out below-ground spaces to make way for a 220-seat auditorium, a larger reception hall, and an upper lobby, the Frick plans to document and restore Page's design. The sculptures, reflecting pool, and north wall will be dismantled and rebuilt (the latter with a different design), while the paths will be restored to their dimensions with new gravel. According to the presentation submitted to Manhattan Community Board 8, which held a public meeting on the plans earlier this month, the garden's plants and trees will be "retained to the extent possible or replaced with appropriate species." As part of the Upper East Side Historic District and as an individual landmark, any changes to the Frick have to be approved by the city's Landmarks commission. Carrère and Hastings, the same architects behind New York Public Library's 42nd Street main branch, designed the original, now-landmarked Beaux Arts home for the Frick family in 1914, as well as an attached library in 1924. (That structure was demolished a decade later to make room for a museum and library conversion by John Russell Pope.) These buildings, plus 1977 and 2011 additions by Bayley Van Dyke Poehler and Davis Brody Bond, respectively, comprise the majority of the significant, still-visible work on the site until now. Although the exterior was landmarked in 1973, the interiors not protected. In mid-May, CB8's Landmarks Committee rejected Selldorf's designs (PDF), while the full board of CB8 couldn't come to a consensus on the appropriateness of the expansion when it considered the matter a few days later. Although community board votes are only advisory and non-binding, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) takes their thoughts into account when it makes its decisions on whether to modify a landmark. Overall, most preservationists prefer Selldorf's design to the Davis Brody Bond scheme the museum proposed a few years ago, but there's concern that interior renovations will sacrifice period interiors like Russell Pope's music room for white-box galleries and splashier events spaces. There's also growing concern around the Page garden. Current plans scuttle northern end of the 4,100-square-foot green space, which features trees of different species planted against a wall. Here's what landscape architect Laurie Olin had to say about Page's work in a recent letter to the Frick trustees that was printed by landscape preservationists at The Cultural Landscape Foundation (we've excerpted the letter, below):
I have always liked this garden and admired Page. It is inconceivable to propose to eliminate the northern planting above and beyond the wall that Page used to give an illusion of depth and of a garden beyond it to the north.  The pear trees, wall, planter, and door are key contributing elements of the garden. His famous asymmetrical planting of four trees of different species plays off not just against the rectangular basin but also this uniform layered plane of green that one thinks the door goes into. It’s a thought worthy of Borromini if he’d had a green thumb, and a mark of Page’s genius and subtlety. These elements are not expendable, but the conclusion of a remarkably witty and brilliant solution to a difficult problem, that of a tiny urban space hemmed in by buildings – one that has challenged designers and artists since Roman times. I have on numerous occasions in my teaching graduate students in landscape architecture and garden design over the decades used this as an example of how a skillful designer can overcome the awkward problem of such a small space in a dense urban setting. I urge you to save your Russell Page garden, the whole garden, not just some of it.
In its testimony to the LPC, historic preservation advocacy organization the Historic Districts Council (HDC) suggested the shelf above the north garden wall, now festooned with trees, be maintained to add interest to the library's rear wall. Meanwhile, in a long letter to the LPC chair, Henry Clay Frick's great-granddaughter Martha Frick Symington Sanger wrote expressed disappointment in the "over-the-top architectural expansion that promises to alter the landmarked buildings and severely compromise the historic Russell Page Garden [sic]." For those who want to have their say on the Frick, the LPC is hearing from the museum, the architects, and the public at its May 29 meeting. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m., and the exact time should be posted on the agency's website today. At meetings with preservationists at the Frick in May, HDC Executive Director Bankoff confirmed that Selldorf Architects principal Annabel Selldorf said the designs were "schematic"—typically, architects seek the LPC's approval when their designs are final. While the Frick has done a "very good job" at community outreach, given the complexity of the proposal, "I would be shocked if the LPC approved this in one hearing," Bankoff said.

Frick Collection reveals expansion by Selldorf Architects

Today the Frick Collection released a new set of renovation designs by Selldorf Architects that will increase the museum's square footage by ten percent.

The Upper East Side institution faced stiff opposition for the redesign scheme it unveiled in 2015, with critics condemning a six-story building by Davis Brody Bond that would have supplanted the museum's garden on East 70th Street. The new plans preserve the garden, while adding 27,000 square feet of space within the Frick's home, a 1914 Gilded Age mansion designed by Carrère and Hastings.

Instead of looming over the greenery, some of that new space will be underground. The institution is building a 220-seat auditorium under the garden, which was designed by Russell Page, one of the last century's most renowned landscape architects. In concert with the additions, New York garden designer Lynden B. Miller is redoing the greensward to honor Page's original design intent.

Above the ground plane, the tallest addition will sprout in two stories from the building's music room, while the lobby won't rise more than five feet above where it sits now. Another building behind the seven-story library will top out at the library's height. Collectively, these additions should preserve more expansive sightlines into the garden, and add much-needed room for the Frick's growing collection.

“The Frick has always been one of my favorite museums because you get up close to the art and you can respond to the domestic spaces in your own way,” firm principal Annabelle Selldorf told the New York Times. “You’ll be able to come to the museum and do the exact same thing you do today, except that you’ll be able to go up the stairs and see these rooms.”

The museum selected Selldorf Architects to lead the project in December 2016 after a string of failed expansion attempts.

Selldorf is using contextual materials like Indiana limestone to integrate the 27,000 square feet of new programming, exhibition, and reception space into the Frick's existing 60,000 square feet. Her New York firm is removing a circular stair in the reception area, and moving the gift shop up a floor to open up the reception area and improve circulation between the first, second, and lower levels. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle is the executive architect on the project.

If all goes according to plan, construction is expected to begin in 2020, at a cost of $160 million.
Correction 4/4/18: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the 27,000 square feet will increase the Frick's footprint by ten percent, not 50.

Selldorf Architects tapped for Frick Collection expansion

New York–based art-world veterans Selldorf Architects will helm The Frick Collection’s enhancement of its existing Upper East Side Manhattan home, the Henry Clay Frick House. Selldorf was selected from 20 candidates after an 18-month review period.

The Frick’s road to expansion has been rocky. In June 2015, in the face of strong criticism from architects and preservationists, the museum abandoned plans to replace a gated garden with an historicist six-story tower by Davis Brody Bond. That added to a string of failed expansions (in 2001, 2005, and 2008) but the museum vowed to increase its exhibition space.

According to the Frick representatives, this latest round will work within the building’s existing footprint. The upgrades include converting a set of second-floor rooms to galleries, creating a new special gallery on the main floor, improving circulation and accessibility for those with physical disabilities, and installing new facilities dedicated to educational programming and conservation.

For now, the expansion is in its earliest stages. The configuration of the second-floor galleries and the placement of the new facilities haven’t been decided but more details will be revealed during winter 2017–2018.

Selldorf Architects chosen to upgrade and expand The Frick Collection

New York-based Selldorf Architects, no stranger to designing for the art world, will be helming The Frick Collection's enhancement of its existing home, the Henry Clay Frick House in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The Frick's efforts to expand have previously not gone smoothly. The museum faced outcry when it planned to remove a garden and add six stories to its east wing. (The Frick House was originally designed by Thomas Hastings of Carrère and Hastings and built from 1912 to 1914.) Those plans were abandoned but the Frick, saying it still faced a shortage of exhibition space, vowed to find other ways to expand. In a press release, the museum said, "Working in partnership with Frick leadership and staff, Selldorf Architects will develop a design plan that addresses the institution’s pressing needs to accommodate the growth of its collections and programs, upgrade its conservation and research facilities, create new galleries, and—for the first time—allow for dedicated spaces and classrooms for the Frick’s educational programs." These upgraded facilities, the release added, will be within the building's "built footprint" and will "foster a more natural and seamless visitor flow throughout the Frick’s exhibition galleries, library, and public spaces." Selldorf was unanimously recommended by the search committee, which spent 18 months evaluating some 20 architects. Ian Wardropper, director of The Frick Collection, said this of Selldorf Architects in a press release:
The firm understands and appreciates the value of institutional mission and has clearly demonstrated in past projects—such as New York’s Neue Galerie and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown—how new designs can enrich, rather than overwhelm, already distinguished architectural spaces. Such an approach is essential to our project, which seeks to preserve the peaceful and contemplative experience that the Frick provides to its visitors.
The new enhancements will include "the opening to the public—for the first time—of a suite of rooms on the second floor of the historic house, for use as exhibition galleries," "the creation of a new gallery for the presentation of special exhibitions" on the main floor, "the creation of dedicated, purpose-built spaces to accommodate the Frick’s roster of educational and public programming," and "the establishment of state-of-the-art conservation spaces...." By way of some background, in the 1930s, when converting the house into a museum, architect John Russell Pope doubled its size and demolished its library to make way for a larger library that could accommodate the museum's collection. Additional expansions occurred in 1977 (which created the 70th Street Garden) and 2011 (which enclosed part of the Fifth Avenue Garden). This won't be the only art-related New York project that Selldorf Architects will have on their plate: the firm is also helming the new St. Mark’s Place location for the Swiss Institute. More details can be found here on the Frick Collection's website and a full press release can be found here.

The Frick launches new plan to modernize, add more exhibition space

Now that the preservation of the Frick gardens has been assured, and the uproar surrounding the controversy has quieted down, a new plan to generate the alterations has already been set in motion. The new scheme promises changes that will affect the institution and its public in major positive ways. Although an architect has not as yet been selected, the search has already begun in hopes of embarking on the restructuring in 2017. The director, Ian Wardropper, articulated the museum’s needs and priorities that will guide the multi-pronged project. According to Wardropper, one of the principle concerns is the inadequacy of their exhibition space. Currently, in order to hang large shows, such as the Van Dyck portraiture exhibition now on view, many of the major works in the collection have to be removed, thereby disappointing those who come expressly to see their old favorites. By opening up the long-closed second floor rooms, the Frick hopes to alleviate the problem. At present the fine historic library on 71st St. is cut off from the 70th street entrance. The proposed remodeling will include a path between the museum and the library that links the two buildings and encourages visitors to wander and take advantage of the reading room and research facilities. Similarly, the rooms dedicated to conservation will be enlarged to better maintain the museum's essential collection of delicate decorative artworks. While the historic entrance that greets the public will be retained, new arrangements for easy wheelchair access will be provided. New service entrances will allow for large international crates; currently the staff must devise temporary ramps for the sizable and precious loan items. The Frick's also desires to expand its reach to a broader audience: a “First Fridays” will allow for monthly free entrance for students and those whom the entrance fee would pose a problem. Special events will be created for those evenings to better engage the new visitors. The tiny crowded entrance area would be enlarged to become a more coherent public space. Most importantly, the museum’s plan builds on the building's unique history and sense of domesticity. They intend to preserve the notion of a “home” even as they provide more effective ways of presenting its important collection to the public. The Frick will continue to present major theme-based surveys, such as the upcoming show of Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports, and will continue to bring smaller exhibitions that expose the public to works rarely-seen in New York. One such forthcoming exhibition, curated by Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon, will be Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene: An Italian Baroque Masterpiece from the Norton Simon Museum. The show will be an in-depth view of a major artist who's little-known to many.

The Frick Collection Expansion, Take 2

There is a new expansion plan in the works for the New York City museum founded in 1935 that sits on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side. The 1977 Russell Page-designed garden will still be part of the new plan for a larger Frick Collection. Last week, “leaders of the Upper East Side museum and library said they intend to issue a formal request for qualifications from firms with expertise applicable to the Beaux-Arts mansion,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “A selection is expected later this year, with designs following in 2017.” Facing criticism from designers and preservationists, The Frick Collection abandoned the former expansion proposal last spring that would have removed the garden, added six stories to the east wing, and “established a stronger connection from the museum to its art reference library on East 71st Street,” explained The New York Times. The nixed plan would have added almost 25 percent more space for permanent exhibits and over 50 percent more for temporary exhibits. If implemented, this would be the third expansion for the Frick. The first was a new entrance in 1977, and the second enclosed the existing open air portico in 2011. The museum was the home of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick who made his fortune on coke manufacturing and steel and infamous for his anti-union policies. Frick stipulated in his will that his house—designed by Carrère and Hastings—become a public museum after his death.

The Frick Collection cancels controversial expansion plan by Davis Brody Bond

The Frick Collection has called off its controversial expansion plan, reports the New York Times. The surprising news comes one year after the museum unveiled a scheme by David Brody Bond to build a six-story addition and fill in its beloved Russell Page Garden. Removing the garden (and replacing it with a new rooftop garden) did not sit well with preservationists who came out swinging against the expansion. Groups like Unite to Save the Frick (USF), ASLA NY, and later the Municipal Art Society, have all been publicly urging the Frick to scrap its plan since it was announced. Now, all these months later, it seems that their wish has been granted. "After months of public dialogue and thoughtful consideration and weighing the potential for a protracted approval process against the Frick’s pressing needs, the Board of Trustees has decided to approach the expansion plan in a way that avoids building on the garden site," said Ian Wardropper, the director of the Frick Collection, in a statement. The Frick's decision appears to be centered around possible legal issues relating to the elimination of the Page Garden. As AN reported last year, "Citing documents presented to the Landmarks Commission in 1973, USF is accusing the Frick’s leadership of reneging on a promise to make the garden a permanent fixture." In a letter to the editor published in AN, Wardropper pushed back on those claims. "The Frick initially planned to install an interim garden on the site as a placeholder until funds could be raised for the addition," he wrote. "But due to high costs, the museum decided to build a permanent architectural garden instead—not promised, as opponents claim—and a one-story pavilion. In explaining the reason for this change, former Frick Director Everett Fahy, told the Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 21, 1974 that the revised plan for the site was intended to satisfy the 'foreseeable minimal needs of the Collection for certain interior space.'" Those needs were no longer being met, Wardropper added. But with the threat of "protracted legal battles," the museum reportedly decided that it was best to head in a different direction. The board has not officially voted on canceling the plan, but is expected to meet today. USF was expectedly very pleased with the latest development, saying in a statement to the Times that there were “many viable alternatives that would preserve the Russell Page Garden and the intimate house museum experience treasured by so many in New York City and around the world.” In his statement, Wardropper added that the Frick "will immediately begin to develop a new plan that will help us satisfy our critical needs.”

Letter to the Editor> A Bright Future for the Frick

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] I am delighted with the recent Crit’s praise for the beautifully renovated Cooper Hewitt (AN 01_01.14.2015), but I am puzzled by the inconsistency with regard to the Frick Collection’s expansion plans.   The piece says of the Cooper Hewitt, “working within the building’s constraint, they relocated offices to adjacent buildings”—which is precisely what the Frick proposes to do! It goes on to admire the Cooper Hewitt’s “better shop and lovely looking cafe,” but appears to deplore such amenities for the Frick! As a longtime New Yorker and lover of the Frick, I want this revered museum to stay (it will) the same; and I also want it to keep renewing itself (it could) in fresh and exciting ways, as every great institution must do or—over time—be diminished. The Frick has challenges with space and visitor services that need to be met: for example, to replace the awkward and unappealing underground galleries with, say, a concert-lecture hall; to create modern, adequate new galleries; to provide a loading entrance and other essential facilities; to widen and make more cheerful and user friendly the too narrow and gloomy reception hall; to integrate the superb library into the museum to be more accessible to the public—and so much more. And what opportunities to seize: open more fully to the public the historic Frick House; better accommodate the brilliant special exhibitions that now have to scramble, if they can find display space at all; enhance publications, public programming, and art acquisitions. (Some say that no way should the Frick be bringing in new treasures! By what authority, one wonders? Would they be happier without the Rembrandt, Ingres, Piero, Houdon, Clodion, and Murillo recently added to the museum?). The time is now; given the chance, the glorious Frick Collection could become even grander, even more beloved than it now is. I devoutly hope it will have that chance. Joan K. Davidson President, Furthermore President Emeritus, J.M. Kaplan Fund Former Chair, New York State Council on the Arts

Letter to the Editor> Frick Director Responds to Expansion Critics

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] Regarding the article “Frick Fracas,” (AN_14_12.4.2014), while there has been much debate about the Frick’s proposed addition to address its longstanding space needs, much of it rests on mischaracterizations about the history and original purpose of the site where it will be located. The property on which the 70th Street Garden now sits was purchased between 1940 and 1972 to construct an addition. The Frick initially planned to install an interim garden on the site as a placeholder until funds could be raised for the addition. But due to high costs, the museum decided to build a permanent architectural garden instead—not promised, as opponents claim—and a one-story pavilion. In explaining the reason for this change, former Frick Director Everett Fahy, told the Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 21, 1974 that the revised plan for the site was intended to satisfy the “forseeable minimal needs of the Collection for certain interior space.” Now the Frick’s minimal needs are no longer being met. After studying several plans that would have kept the garden and pavilion intact, the Frick has concluded the site offers the best solution. The Frick has three gardens now and will continue to have three gardens after the addition is built. The 70th Street Garden, while lovely, will be replaced by an outdoor garden atop the new addition that will offer views of Central Park and space for contemplation. Ian Wardropper, Director The Frick Collection