MoMA’s $31.2M purchase of American Folk Art Museum closes

August 04, 2011 11:13AM

From left: the American Folk Art Museum and the adjacent Museum of Modern Art

The sale of the American Folk Art Museum building at 45 West 53rd Street to the Museum of Modern Art hit public records yesterday, confirming earlier reports that the transaction closed for $31.2 million. The deal was filed with the city July 22.

The folk art museum’s building was designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsie Architects and opened in 2001 next door to MoMA’s space. The folk art museum took out a $32 million loan to construct the building, but weak visitor numbers and the economic downturn put a strain on the museum’s financials.

It plans on moving its entire collection into a smaller space it rents for $1 per year from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 2 Lincoln Square.

The sale means MoMA, which already owned the lot directly west of the Folk Art Museum, now owns three consecutive plots and reportedly plans to use them all as connected gallery space. — Adam Fusfeld