August 31, 2010  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Charles Chaplin’s City Lights

City Lights. 1931. USA. Written, directed, and music by Charles Chaplin

City Lights. 1931. USA. Written, directed, and music by Charles Chaplin

These notes accompany screenings of Charles Chaplin’s City Lights, September 1, 2, and 3 in Theater 3.

City Lights is Charles Chaplin’s most perfectly accomplished and balanced work. It would certainly be on the short list of films with which I would care to be stranded on a desert island.

By 1931 the silent cinema was effectively dead. It took considerable courage to lavish two years of rather expensive production on a silent film (and even more courage with Modern Times five years later), but Chaplin felt he had very little choice. He correctly perceived that the Tramp would lose his poetry and grace if he were coerced into the leveling mundanity of human speech. He foresaw that sound would force him to sacrifice the “pace and tempo” he had so laboriously perfected. Read more

August 30, 2010  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Publications
MoMA and the World: The International Program

Clement Greenberg speaking in New Delhi in 1967 at a presentation of the MoMA exhibition Two Decades of American Painting

Clement Greenberg speaking in New Delhi in 1967 at a presentation of the MoMA exhibition Two Decades of American Painting

An interview with Jay Levenson, Director, International Program, The Museum of Modern Art

In 1952, The Museum of Modern Art established the International Program of Circulating Exhibitions, which was supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, with the aim of sending exhibitions to museums around the world. The following year, the International Council was organized to provide long-term financial support to the program.

Amy Horschak: In light of MoMA’s upcoming installation Abstract Expressionist New York and the exhibition of many of the “AbEx” artists abroad by the International Program (IP) in the 1950s, can you comment on the often-made claims that the IP was, at that time, part of a CIA project? Read more

August 27, 2010  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 08/27/2010

How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works—all currently on view in the Museum’s fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture Galleries—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers—along with some information about each work—in two weeks (on Friday, September 10), along with the next Do You Know Your MoMA? challenge.


August 25, 2010  |  Intern Chronicles
A Portrait of Chicago, Part I

Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millennium Park gives the city a chance to reflect on itself

I’m interested in the big picture. How do arts organizations function and build support, survive and thrive? During a recent visit to Chicago I had the opportunity to sit down with four nonprofit leaders working at different levels of the city’s art scene. At a time of financial rollercoasters, shifting demographics, and a globalizing world, I was interested to see how these art organizations continued to reach out to changing communities and tap in to the creative energy they have to offer. Read more

August 24, 2010  |  An Auteurist History of Film
René Clair’s Under the Roofs of Paris

Under the Roofs of Paris. 1930. France. Directed by René Clair

Under the Roofs of Paris. 1930. France. Directed by René Clair

These notes accompany screenings of René Clair’s Under the Roofs of Paris, August 25, 26, and 27 in Theater 3.

René Clair (1898–1981), a disappointed poet, novelist, and actor, lived and worked on the fringes of the French Surrealist movement in the 1920s. (We included his Entr’acte (1924) in the French Avant-Garde program earlier in the series.) In total, he made eight silent films of varied lengths—most notably 1927’s Un Chapeau de Paille d’Italie (The Italian Straw Hat)—establishing a reputation for humor and fanciful imagination. Read more

August 23, 2010  |  Events & Programs, Videos
YWCA Community Mural Project: The Video

This short video piece was created around the mural project I’ve been doing with YWCA’s Fresh Start program at Murry Bergtraum High School in lower Manhattan. (You can read more about the project in a previous blog post.) The program targets freshman students who are in academic trouble and finds new and interesting ways to get them involved in their school and excited about their educational career. Read more

August 20, 2010  |  Five for Friday
Five (and a Few) for Friday: I LEGO MoMA

The design collection at MoMA has some great items of cultural significance, including the beloved Lego brick. A while back, Christoph Niemann created a memorable version of iconic New York items in Lego. Niemann also created an illustration for last fall (here’s the blog post). The Lego has grown up quite a bit in the past few decades, and you can even get a Lego version of Fallingwater at the MoMA Design Store. Read more

August 19, 2010  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Bruce Nauman’s Days: Perspectives from the Curator and Visitors

Bruce Nauman. Days (installation view). 2009. One audio source consisting of seven stereo audio files, fourteen speakers, two amplifiers, and additional equipment. Dimensions variable. Audio (fourteen channels). Continuous play. The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, Gift of The Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Agnes Gund, The Hess Foundation, Michael Ovitz, Jerry I. Speyer, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation, Donald B. Marron, and The Jill and Peter Kraus Contemporary Acquisition Fund) and Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, Basel, Switzerland.

Bruce Nauman’s exhibition Days, which currently occupies MoMA’s third-floor special exhibition gallery, provokes a reaction, if nothing else. One need wait only a moment in the sun-dappled corridor outside the entrance to witness a gallimaufry of expressions—grins, scowls, exclamations, sighs, guffaws—on the faces of people as they exit. Read more

August 19, 2010  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions, Design
MA at MoMA

Alexander (Sándor) Bortnyik. Ma VII - IK (Grafikai) Kiállitása. 1919

While we always believe in the works we propose for addition to the MoMA collection, some works stand apart in extraordinarily strong ways. They speak to us because of their great historical significance, aesthetic power or, in my case with the above poster, because of true love. Read more

August 18, 2010  |  Events & Programs
Lady Gaga Did Not Attend This Opening

Photo by Brenda Zamora

You probably didn’t hear about the huge exhibition opening last week at MoMA—it didn’t make the front page of The New York Times Arts or Style sections; no one was interviewed on NPR about it; no pictures of the artists appeared on Art Fag City. And yet it was definitely the place to be if you are interested in mingling with the freshest faces in contemporary art. Read more