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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 11:50 GMT
New York's MoMA gallery re-opens

New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has opened its doors to the public once again after a $425m (229m) revamp.

The dramatic new building, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, is the new home for works of art by Picasso, Matisse, Andy Warhol, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.

Thousands of people queued up outside the gallery to take advantage of free entry on its first day.

Visitors will have to contribute towards the cost of the refurbishment, with entry prices of up to $20 (11).

However, Saturday's opening day was free, as are Friday evenings thanks to corporate donations.

Lifetime membership

The first people to enter were New Jersey couple Tad Davis and Susan Vosburgh, who were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. They were given lifetime membership of the institution.

Thousands queued for the museum's first day
Others near the end of the line said they expected the wait to be worth it.

"I would rather be at the front, but I wanted to come today because I am poor and can't afford $20 to get in," said Suzanne Velovic, 61.

Museum director Glenn D Lowry defended the charges, which the New York Times called "appalling and cynical".

"We have endeavoured to balance our financial needs with obligations to run a balanced budget," he said.

Increased insurance fees and other costs also contributed to the increased charges.

Sculpture garden

The gallery spent two years in a temporary space in nearby Queens while the rebuilding work was carried out.

Taniguchi's new design doubles the amount of space available to the museum. But it keeps elements of the old site, including its sculpture garden.

On Monday, he told a news conference his work on MoMA could not be judged until the museum was up and running in its new home.

"Museums are like a Japanese teacup," he added.

"It doesn't speak by itself so much but when you pour the green tea, the contrast becomes so great.

"Like a plate - if you have a very simple plate there's nothing there but when you start putting all this Japanese food on, it changes."

The latest pictures from inside the revamped MoMA

Revamped art museum 'like teacup'
17 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
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05 Jun 03 |  Entertainment
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28 Jun 02 |  Entertainment

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