Jeff Koons, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman & Art World Luminaries urge Mayor, Landmarks Commission: Deny the Frick’s proposal

May 6, 2015

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Chair Srinivasan:

The residential scale of the Frick Collection exerts a special power over those who walk its halls. To have visitors experience the feeling of living with art was the intention of founder Henry Clay Frick as he envisioned his personal residence being opened to the public. Up until now, the Frick’s fidelity to its founder’s vision of a “house museum” has been laudable. Those of us in the art world who cherish the unique and tranquil ambiance offered by the Frick are urging the Frick to withdraw its proposed plan and consider alternative methods of expansion that would preserve the character essential to its appeal.

As professionals working in the art world (sculptors, painters, critics, journalists, dealers, gallerists, financiers, and more), we strongly believe that the Frick’s effectiveness as a display space lies in its intimacy. Viewing highlights of the collection—whether the photorealism of Vermeer’s Officer and Laughing Girl or the diffused softness of Renoir’s La Promenade—we are transported by the gallery’s serene environment, and encouraged to reflect on what it means to let art inhabit one’s daily life. It’s personal at the Frick, and that is a rare achievement.

The ensemble the Frick wishes to raze, composed of the Reception Hall Pavilion and the Russell Page-designed Viewing Garden on East 70th Street, is a masterstroke of the evolving museum’s design, positioning the mansion in counterpoint to the Manhattan street grid, and optimizing the “house museum” experience. Replacing the hall and garden with an institutional 106-foot tower will indeed destroy the famed Frick experience for artists and art lovers around the world.

The Frick is revered for its wise curatorial and architectural decisions, and we hope that your guidance will ensure that it does not break with this tradition. Please deny the Frick’s current expansion proposal and urge its leadership to consider the many worthy and reasonable alternatives for modernizing this one-of-a-kind gallery so beloved in the international art community.


Jeff Koons, artist

Chuck Close, painter

Rachel Feinstein, artist

John Currin, painter

Helen and Brice Marden, artist

Sofia Coppola, filmmaker

Frank Stella, artist

Richard Prince, artist

Cindy Sherman, artist

Claude Lalanne, sculptor

Marc Jacobs, fashion designer

Inez van Lamsweerde, artist

Vinoodh Matadin, artist

Ben Kinmont, artist

Deborah Kass, artist

Marie Lalanne, painter

Dorothea Rockburne, painter

Sean Landers, painterCecily Brown, artist

Walton Ford, artist

Lisa Yuskavage, artist

Rudolf Stingel, artist

Jessica Craig-Martin, artist

Nird Hod, artist

Matvey Levenstein, artist

Richard Phillips, artist

Marianne Vitale, artist

James Capper, sculptor

Laylah Ali, artist

David Salle, artist

Makoto Saito, artist

Jackie Buechner, painter

T.J. Wilcox, filmmaker

Sarah Morris, artist

Paul Branca, artist

Julian Lethbridge, artistSarah Sze, artist

Miranda Brooks, landscape architect

Simon Thoresen, architect

Irving and Jackie Blum, gallerist and art dealer

Zoe Lescaze, art journalist

Adrian Dannatt, art/architecture journalist

Nina Griscom, arts journalist

Paul Kasmin, director, Paul Kasmin Gallery

John B. Koegel, art law attorney

Barbara Chu, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance

Offer Waterman, gallery director, London

Eric Zetterquist, gallerist

Allegra Thoresen, Di Donna Gallery

Courtney Conway, Di Donna Gallery

Noreen Buckfire, arts patron and philanthropist

James Sharp Brodsky, philanthropist

Bruce and Maria Bockmann, art collectors

Angus Beavers, philanthropist

CC:Senator Charles Schumer; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Councilmember Daniel Garodnick; State Senator Liz Krueger; Assemblyman Dan Quart; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Manhattan Community Board 8; Margot Bogert and Ian Wardropper, The Frick Collection; Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen; Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris