February 14, 2011  |  Library and Archives
Books About Books

Working in a library, it is amazing how consistently one is asked, “Which is your favorite book?” I generally stutter and give a muddled reply about how I like the idea of an accumulation of books, or something along those lines. If really pressed, I have recently started mentioning that I like books about books. Read more

February 11, 2011  |  Five for Friday
Five for Friday: Valentine’s Day—Love Ain’t Always What You Expect

Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.

With Valentine’s Day just a few days off (thank you, Hallmark and Tiffany’s, for the e-mail reminders), we thought a look at some love- and not-quite-so-love-themed works in the collection was in order. Enjoy, and happy Valentine’s Day! Read more

February 10, 2011  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Film
Leonardo: Da Vinci at MoMA

Still image from Leonardo. Directed by Jim Capobianco. 2010

People often ask me, “How do you discover new films for acquisition for the MoMA collection?” This is a good question that mines the basics of curatorial work, but one that is also impossible to answer in a concise manner. Our collection is growing all the time, and each work has its own unique origin story. Here’s one of them. Read more

February 8, 2011  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Disney, Iwerks, and Fleischer in the 1930s

These notes accompany the Disney, Iwerks, and Fleischer in the 1930s program on February 9, 10, and 11 in Theater 3.

Last June we presented a brief survey of early animation in both America and Europe. On the continent, with the emergence of figures like Walter Ruttmann and Oskar Fischinger in Germany and (with the coming of sound) Len Lye in Britain, abstraction became the predominant form. Lotte Reiniger continued her silhouettes, eventually landing also in Britain. Ladislas Starevitch spent the first decade of the sound era working on the puppet feature Le Roman de Renard in France. Read more

February 7, 2011  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Stück Natur: The Microenvironment-in-a-Jar Siren

Haus-Rucker & Co. Stück Natur (Piece of Nature). 1971–73

When you spend a lot of time around objects, you find that some objects continue to unfold with every new encounter while other objects do not. I was charmed from the start by Haus-Rucker & Co.’s Stück Natur (Piece of Nature), a microenvironment in a preserving jar, but didn’t expect it to continue to draw me back in. Read more

February 4, 2011  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 02/04/2011

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 throughout the Museum—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, February 18).


February 3, 2011  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Guston & Feldman: A Double View

Philip Guston. Head – Double View. 1958. Ink on paper. The Museum of Modern Art. Purchase. © 2011 The Estate of Philip Guston

The 1958 Philip Guston drawing Head – Double View is currently on view in The Big Picture, the fourth-floor installment of MoMA’s Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition. One floor down, in the complementary show Ideas Not Theories: Artists and the Club, 1942-1962, the black-on-white composition appears again, this time on the cover of an album by the American composer Morton Feldman. Feldman—who was friends with many of the artists associated with the New York School, Guston in particular—featured the drawing on the jacket of his 1959 Columbia Masterworks release New Directions in Music 2. Read more

February 3, 2011  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Last Chance to See Monika Grzymala and the exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century

Monika Grzymala’s work always pushes the viewer—it forces us to question how we categorize artworks, what they’re made of, and where they can be installed. Monika has worked with adhesive tape, handmade washi paper, and a diverse range of other materials to create large scale drawings-in-space— works that are grounded in the idea of drawing and the artist’s direct engagement with materials, but that expand into three dimensions, filling and shaping the viewer’s own space. Read more

February 1, 2011  |  An Auteurist History of Film
Abel Gance’s J’Accuse (1938)

Jaccuse. 1938. France. Written and directed by Abel Gance

J'accuse. 1938. France. Written and directed by Abel Gance

These notes accompany the screenings of Abel Gance’s J’Accuse on February 2, 3, and 4 in Theater 3.

The 1937 version of Abel Gance’s (1889–1981) J’Accuse is hardly the director’s best film, but I thought it would it would make an interesting and instructive companion piece to the 1919 silent version, which we showed in the recent To Save and Project festival. (Gance’s La Roue is familiar to Museum audiences, and we were unable to screen Napoleon because of the restoration work currently in progress.) The 1937 film begins at almost the end of World War I, after the male protagonists in the story’s love triangle have been reconciled. The original, a peculiar but impassioned antiwar epic, was mostly taken up with the rivalry of the two for the heroine, which was finally interrupted by the coming of the war. So the 1937 film is only partially a remake. Read more