Beatriz Milhazes. Succulent Eggplants. 1996. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 74 3/4 × 96 1/2″ (189.9 × 245.1 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund and Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Bequest Fund. © 2007 Beatriz Milhazes

What Is Painting? is the fourth in a series of installations drawn from the Museum’s collection of contemporary art. It presents a selection of artworks made since approximately 1965, including a number of recent acquisitions and many works displayed for the first time since the Museum’s reopening. A variety of responses to the question “What is painting?” are proposed in loose chronological sequence, ranging from ironic to sincere; from figurative to abstract; and from an embrace and creative reimagining of painting’s possibilities to a critical engagement with its limits. The installation’s title derives from John Baldessari’s eponymous painting of 1966–68 (with the addition of a question mark), acknowledging the ongoing debates over the practice of painting and its place within contemporary art.

Organized by Anne Umland, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Licensing of MoMA images and videos is handled by Art Resource (North America) and Scala Archives (all other geographic locations). All requests should be addressed directly to those agencies, which supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.