That Pollock I was talking about? Sold last night for well over its high estimate: $11.6 million. The most expensive Pollock ever sold. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports on MoMA's $425 million refurbishment and expansion:
The glass walls float free from the floor, appearing to be autonomous planes. And to make things more challenging yet, Mr. Taniguchi wanted the mullions between the panes of glass to be as slim as possible, slimmer than the usual 3 1/2 to 4 inches. That meant that a conventional aluminum system would not be strong enough. Steel mullions had to be used.
The same rectilinear precision goes for the ceilings and walls of the galleries. Mr. Lowry pointed out a reveal between a wall and doorway that narrowed toward the bottom. "This is not acceptable," he said. He then showed how some ring-shaped fittings for smoke detectors and sprinklers did not sit smoothly in the ceiling. "Most people won't see this," he said, but cumulatively they will pick up on it. Either it's "a quiet ceiling" or there's a disturbance.
Even the floors should feel quiet, Mr. Lowry said. Most of the gallery floors are simple oak, but they hide a complex layering. At the bottom is concrete. On top of that are sleepers, planks fitted with rubber runners. On top of that is a grid of boards, stuffed with sound insulation. Then there's a plywood base and finally the oak. The result: "The floor has give to it," Mr. Lowry said.
It's really hard not to come to the conclusion that the MoMA's no-expense-spared architectural ambitions are diverting money from the collection. $425 million buys a lot of art, and only a small chunk of that money could have precluded MoMA from having to sell its small masterpiece of a Pollock.