January 7, 2007

Glenn D. Lowry
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Lowry:

When we last spoke, you called me an idealist. This was during MoMA's reopening week in 2004, when I staged Penniless at the Modern, a campaign against the museum's new admission policy. You'll be happy to learn that I have become a realist since then. Following the example set by Thomas Krens, you, and your spiritual forerunners Donald Trump and Steve Wynn, I have shifted my focus away from art and towards real estate. The Homeless Museum is no longer homeless. It has found shelter in a space in Brooklyn Heights that is so spectacular that the New York Times covered it in its Real Estate section ("A House Museum That's Part Serious and Part Send Up", New York Times, 7 Jan. 2007).

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the sale of MoMA's last vacant parcel in Midtown. $125 million! Well done! You have showed us the way into the future: Museums are indeed no longer in the business of showing art, collecting art and educating people about art, they have moved into the business of real estate, and no one has mastered this transition better than you. In 1975, Joseph Beuys famously declared that everyone is an artist. This bold statement has not withstood the test of time and calls for adjustment, worthy of the changes you have brought. I say every businessman is an artist.

In regards to the use of the 54th Street lot you just sold to developer Hines, I have a proposition for your institution's future that you might find worth looking into: Reinvent the Museum of Modern Art as the Mall of Modern Art. Simply vacate the Tanaguchi building of all art and store it away in the basement of the new building Hines will erect next to it. Then lease the former gallery spaces to luxury brands and restaurant chains. This would turn the museum into a spectacular shopping and dining experience, a natural development for what has already been in the making in recent years, so why not accelerate it just a bit? Best of all, my proposal would leave the Modern's famous acronym untouched. MoMA would still be MoMA, but more fit for the business-savvy, real-estate-obsessed 21st Century.

With collegial greetings,

Filip Noterdaeme
Director, HoMu