American Folk Art Museum New York
American Folk Art Museum – Tourist Attractions in New York City
American Folk Art Museum New York
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American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum,officially known as the Museum of American Fold Art, is the leading center for the study and enjoyment of American folk art, as well as the work of international self-taught artists. It is located at 45 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in Midtown Manhattan.
The museum was founded on June 23, 1961, and opened its doors to the public for the first time on September 27, 1963, in the rented parlor floor of a townhouse at 49 West 53rd Street. In 1979, the museum purchased two townhouses adjacent to 49 West 53rd Street. While plans for a development of these properties were being devised, the institution continued to present its exhibitions in the rented gallery until 1984, when it opened facilities in a former carriage house at 125 West 55th Street. That building, however, was razed just two years later, leaving the museum without galleries of its own for almost four years. During that time, the institution continued to organize a full schedule of exhibitions and educational programs, utilizing public spaces and corporate galleries, and offered an extensive traveling exhibition program to museums throughout the country. In 1989, exhibition facilities at 2 Lincoln Square, opposite Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, were opened.
Diversity in programming became a growing emphasis for the institution in the 1990s. Major presentations of African American and Latino artworks became a regular feature of the museum’s exhibition schedule and permanent collection. In 1998, the formation of the Contemporary Center was announced, a division of the museum that is devoted entirely to the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century self-taught artists, as well as non-American artworks in the tradition of European art brut. Within a short time, the Contemporary Center established a leadership role in this field. In 2001, the Center announced the acquisition of twenty-four works by Chicago artist Henry Darger, as well as a huge archival collection of Darger’s books, tracings, drawings, and source materials, which combined now form the basis of the Henry Darger Study Center.
As the collection and the reputation of the museum continued to mature, so did the effort to develop a permanent home. It was determined that the museum would erect a 30,000-square-foot, eight-level structure on the 45 and 47 West 53rd Street lots, to be designed by the internationally recognized firm of Tod Williams & Billie Tsien. This building was inaugurated on December 11, 2001.
During the more than four decades of growth and development, the museum has enlarged its mission and extended the purview of its interests. Known initially as the Museum of Early American Folk Arts and concerned principally with the vernacular arts of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America, especially of the Atlantic Northeast, the institution adopted a simpler but more inclusive name in 1966: the Museum of American Folk Art. As an expression of a further extension of mission, the institution chose its current name, American Folk Art Museum, in 2001. Recognizing that American folk art could be fully understood only in an international context, the word American functions as an indication of the museum’s location, emphasis, and principal patronage rather than as a limitation on the kinds of art it collects, interprets, or presents.
45 West 53rd Street
New York NY 10019
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:30am – 5:30pm
Friday: 10:30am – 7:30pm
Children under 12: FREE
Friday after 5:30: FREE
1 to 66th St, A, B, C, or D to 59th St
M104, M7, M5, M66