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MoMA Breaks New Ground

May 15, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

MoMA renovation groundbreaking ceremony Museum of Modern Art Thursday, 05.10.01, 10 AM onward
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The Museum of Modern Art hosted a chic morning event on the former site of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden to celebrate the groundbreaking of the museum's new renovation. Amid the ruins where the sculpture garden once stood, a big white tent from Starr Tents shielded the bright morning sun, and white folding chairs (from Party Rental) seated more than 300 guests. Inside the museum's lobby, Abigail Kirsch provided a light continental breakfast of pastries, juice and coffee. Liz Garvin of Robert Isabell Inc. took care of the technical production of the event, rigging the lights and sound for the small stage.

Before the ceremony began, Beryl Diamond of Orion Music Inc. and her string quartet serenaded the guests, who mingled and chatted while awaiting the arrival of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who made his entrance 20 minutes after the presentation was scheduled to begin. Once everyone was seated, museum director Glenn Lowry made a short speech about the renovation, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2004 and will nearly double the current size of the museum. Lowry then briefly introduced Yoshio Taniguchi, the renovation's architect, and MoMA chairman emeritus David Rockefeller, whose mother Abby Aldrich Rockefeller was one of the museum's co-founders when it opened in 1929.

Finally, Giuliani made a short speech, joking that he was honored to attend the debut of the museum's latest exhibit, pointing to the rectangular box of dirt surrounded by gleaming silver MoMA-logoed shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking. Ignoring his own notorious attacks on modern art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the mayor commented that MoMA's renovation will not only provide jobs, but elevate the city as the art capital of the world, invoking his idol Fiorello LaGuardia's vow to “leave the city more beautiful than we found it.”

--Suzanne Ito

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