MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

Arts & Culture, Education

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Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world.

Through the leadership of its trustees and staff, The Museum of Modern Art manifests this commitment by establishing, preserving, and documenting a permanent collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns of modern and contemporary art; by presenting exhibitions and educational programs of unparalleled significance; by sustaining a library, archives, and conservation laboratory that are recognized as international centers of research; and by supporting scholarship and publications of preeminent intellectual merit.

Central to The Museum of Modern Art's mission is the encouragement of an ever deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art by the diverse local, national, and international audiences that it serves.

Programs

To achieve its goals The Museum of Modern Art recognizes:

That modern and contemporary art originated in the exploration of the ideals and interests generated in the new artistic traditions that began in the late nineteenth century and continue today.

That modern and contemporary art transcend national boundaries and involve all forms of visual expression, including painting and sculpture, drawings, prints and illustrated books, photography, architecture and design, and film and video, as well as new forms yet to be developed or understood, that reflect and explore the artistic issues of the era.

That these forms of visual expression are an open-ended series of arguments and counter arguments that can be explored through exhibitions and installations and that are reflected in the Museum's varied collection.

That it is essential to affirm the importance of contemporary art and artists if the Museum is to honor the ideals with which it was founded and to remain vital and engaged with the present.

That this commitment to contemporary art enlivens and informs our evolving understanding of the traditions of modern art.

That to remain at the forefront of its field, the Museum must have an outstanding professional staff and must periodically reevaluate itself, responding to new ideas and initiatives with insight, imagination and intelligence. This process of reevaluation is mandated by the Museum's tradition, which encourages openness and a willingness to evolve and change.

In sum, The Museum of Modern Art seeks to create a dialogue between the established and the experimental, the past and the present, in an environment that is responsive to the issues of modern and contemporary art, while being accessible to a public that ranges from scholars to young children. The ultimate purpose of the Museum declared at its founding was to acquire the best modern works of art. While quality remains the primary criterion, the Museum acknowledges and pursues a broader educational purpose: to build a collection which is more than an assemblage of masterworks, which provides a uniquely comprehensive survey of the unfolding modern movement in all visual media.

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History

In the late 1920s, three progressive and influential patrons of the arts, Miss Lillie P. Bliss, Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., perceived a need to challenge the conservative policies of traditional museums and to establish an institution devoted exclusively to modern art. When The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929, its founding Director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., intended the Museum to be dedicated to helping people understand and enjoy the visual arts of our time, and that it might provide New York with "the greatest museum of modern art in the world."

The public's response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and over the course of the next ten years, the Museum moved three times into progressively larger temporary quarters, and in 1939 finally opened the doors of the building it still occupies in midtown Manhattan. Upon his appointment as the first Director, Barr submitted a plan for the conception and organization of the Museum that would result in the Museum's multi-departmental structure with departments devoted for the first time to Architecture and Design, Film and Video, and Photography, in addition to Painting and Sculpture, Drawings, and Prints and Illustrated Books. Subsequent expansions took place during the 1950s and 1960s planned by the architect Philip Johnson, who also designed The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. In 1984, a major renovation designed by Cesar Pelli doubled the Museum's gallery space and enhanced visitor facilities.

The rich and varied collection of The Museum of Modern Art constitutes one of the most comprehensive and panoramic views into modern art. From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, The Museum of Modern Art's collection has grown to include over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects. MoMA also owns approximately 22,000 films and four million film stills, and MoMA's Library and Archives, the premier research facilities of their kind in the world, hold over 300,000 books, artist books, and periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 70,000 artists. The Museum Archives contains primary source material related to the history of MoMA and modern and contemporary art.

The Museum maintains an active schedule of exhibitions addressing a wide range of subject matter, mediums, and time periods, highlighting significant recent developments in the visual arts and new interpretations of major artists and art historical movements. Works of art from its collection are displayed in rotating installations so that the public may regularly expect to find new works on display. Ongoing programs of classic and contemporary films range from retrospectives and historical surveys to introductions of the work of independent and experimental film- and videomakers. Visitors also enjoy access to a bookstore offering an assortment of publications and reproductions, and a design store offering objects related to modern and contemporary art and design.

The Museum is dedicated to its role as an educational institution and provides a complete program of activities intended to assist both the general public and special segments of the community in approaching and understanding the world of modern art. In addition to gallery talks, lectures, and symposia, the Museum offers special activities for parents, teachers, families, students, preschoolers, bilingual visitors, and people with special needs. The Museum's Library and Archives contain the leading concentration of research material on modern art in the world, and each of the curatorial departments maintains a study center available to students, scholars and researchers. In addition, the Museum has one of the most active publishing programs of any art museum and has published more than 1,200 editions appearing in twenty languages.

In January 2000, the Museum and P.S.1 exercised a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing their affiliation. The final arrangement results in an affiliation in which the Museum becomes the sole corporate member of P.S.1 and P.S.1 maintains its artistic and corporate independence. This innovative partnership expands outreach for both institutions, and offers a broad range of collaborative opportunities in collections, exhibitions, educational programs, and administration.

MoMA has just completed the largest and most ambitious building project in its history. This project nearly doubled the space for MoMA's exhibitions and programs. Designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, the new MoMA features 630,000 square feet of new and redesigned space. The Peggy and David Rockefeller Building on the western portion of the site houses the main exhibition galleries, and The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building—the Museum's first building devoted solely to these activities—on the eastern portion of the site provides over five times more space for classrooms, auditoriums, teacher training workshops, and the Museum's expanded Library and Archives. These two buildings frame the enlarged Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. The new Museum opened to the public on November 20, 2004, and the Cullman Building opened in November 2006.

To make way for its renovation and rebuilding, MoMA closed on Fifty-third Street in Manhattan on May 21, 2002, and opened MoMA QNS in Long Island City, Queens, on June 29, 2002. MoMA QNS served as the base of the Museum's exhibition program and operations through September 27, 2004, when the facility was closed in preparation for The Museum of Modern Art's reopening in Manhattan. This building now provides state-of-the-art storage spaces for the Museum.

Today, the Museum and P.S.1 welcome thousands of visitors every year. A still larger public is served by the Museum's national and international programs of circulating exhibitions, loan programs, circulating film and video library, publications, Library and Archives holdings, Web site, educational activities, special events, and retail sales.

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Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world.

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MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53 Street
New York, New York 10019
United States
212-708-9400

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http://www.moma.org

Moderator: Katherine Lyons