October 28, 2011  |  Five for Friday
Five for Friday: Halloween’s Modern Monsters

Halloween is my favorite holiday…by a wide margin. If we’re being honest, I might be a little too excited about October 31. Chalk it up to the influence of too many horror movies Read more

Installing Twombly at MoMA

Twombly lobby

Installation view of The Agnes Gund Garden Lobby, The Museum of Modern Art, Fall, 2011. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a 21-foot-wide painting up onto a museum wall? More than a hammer and nails, to be sure! We recently installed Cy Twombly‘s monumental Untitled (1970) in MoMA’s main lobby Read more

October 26, 2011  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Publications
Reading Photography

MoMA’s current New Photography 2011 exhibition has inspired me to revisit the Museum’s books on photography. John Szarkowski’s monograph on Eugène Atget, titled Atget, has been particularly useful Read more

October 25, 2011  |  Events & Programs
MoMA Returns to Its Roots

My first painting in 20 years

Even though fall is upon us and the new school year is fully underway, I find myself reflecting on summer, specifically a new teacher program we launched. One of the highlights of my summer, MoMA at the Beach, brought together 15 art-studio teachers from the Tri-State area and three instructors to The Art Barge in Amagansett for a workshop focusing on painting, techniques, materials, and process. Read more

October 24, 2011  |  Library and Archives, MoMA PS1
From the Records of MoMA PS1: Space Is the Place

80th Precinct Building

80th Precinct Building. Exhibition and studio space on top two floors operated by Institute for Art and Urban Resources (I.A.U.R.), later known as P.S.1. Photograph by Nancy Moran. 653 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (December 1972). Resin-coated print. MoMA PS1, 2299. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

Walking down Washington Avenue in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, I frequently pass a handsome brick building with the telltale green lanterns of a former police precinct headquarters. Regal, imposing, and even a little bit spooky, the 80th Precinct Building is one of the prominent landmarks of my pedestrian and neighborhood life. Read more

The Language of Objects

Kacie Kinzer, Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Tweenbots. 2009. Cardboard, paper, ink, batteries, motor, and wheels. Photo Credit: Kacie Kinzer

Many serious and portentous things could be said about the exhibition Talk to Me. I don’t intend to say any of them. Read more

October 21, 2011  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions, Fluxus
Case Study: Mieko Shiomi Interprets Fluxkit

Fluxkit. 1965. Fluxus Edition announced 1964. The Museum of Modern Art. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift

The opening of Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions, 1962-1978 did not end on the evening of September 21, 2011. As part of the exhibition (on display in The Paul J Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries through January 16, 2012), six artists have been invited to participate in the exhibition’s organization by “unpacking” and arranging two Fluxkits—the signature compilation of objects by many Fluxus artists stored in black suitcases assembled by George Maciunas, a central organizer and participant. At different points throughout the run of the show, new artists will pull from the kits’ bounty—from posters to lentil beans—and have a hand in the making of this ever-evolving exhibition.

Of the line-up, which includes Alison Knowles, Dora Maurer, Anna Ostoya, Cory Arcangel, and William Pope.L, the first to put the kit to task is one who knows its form well: Mieko Shiomi. The Japanese-born composer and visual artist spent the early years of her career challenging her training as a classical musician. Exploring new possibilities of sound and composition, Shiomi famously made music with instruments’ unused parts. After rubbing shoulders with Tokyo-based artists who had spent time abroad in the early 1960s, including Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, and Toshi Ichiyanagi, Shiomi left her native Japan, and joined the growing contingent of Fluxus artists in New York. Of the works that Shiomi created while working with Maciunas in New York, three (Endless Box, Events and Games, and Water Music) are components of the kits on display.

Left: Mieko Shiomi’s arrangement of Fluxkit; right: Installation view of Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions 1962–1978

Although Shiomi’s stay with the Fluxus community in New York was short-lived, she has always overcome the limitations of her locality by embracing the mail service as a means for collaboration and artistic production. True to her ways, Shiomi sent the plans for her current arrangement for the Fluxkit to us from her home in Osaka via the U.S. postal service. Upon unfolding the long, scroll-like plan, my colleagues and I stood in admiration at the painstaking effort she put into the placement of each work. Shiomi’s masterful arrangement fills the cases entirely, and is ordered according to a system of grid-lines that distinguish each artist’s work from the next, while embedding them in a myriad of constellatory relations. While Shiomi certainly did not empty the Fluxkit suitcase entirely (and thus did prioritize certain works over others), the lyrical arrangement of the kit’s contents appears non-hierarchical—making one wonder what, in particular, Shiomi’s discerning hand adds to our understanding of the works before us.

Mieko Shiomi's plan for her arrangement of Fluxkit. © 2011 Mieko Shiomi

Mieko Shiomi. Piece for a Small Puddle from Events and Games. 1964. Fluxus Edition announced 1963. The Museum of Modern Art. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. © 2011 Mieko Shiomi

If meaning does not pop out blatantly before our eyes we may need to linger, look, and listen a little differently. We may even need to follow the artist’s lead. The instruction card shown on the right—from Shiomi’s Events and Games, which is on display in the kit—may shed some light on her approach to arranging the kit.

If nothing else, perhaps what we may glean from Shiomi’s display is the particular rhythm of its form—the way she peered upon the “puddle” of papers, cans, and cards. Like the event itself, Shiomi’s process concerns looking both intently and with multiple perspectives.


October 20, 2011  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
To Collect

Richard Serra. Verb List. 1967–68.

Richard Serra. Verb List. 1967–68. Graphite on paper, 2 sheets, each 10 x 8" (25.4 x 20.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist in honor of Wynn Kramarsky. © 2011 Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

“Drawing is a verb,” the artist Richard Serra once said. An important new acquisition for MoMA’s Department of Drawings, Serra’s Verb List (1967–68) serves as a kind of manifesto for this pronouncement. Read more

October 17, 2011  |  Behind the Scenes, Library and Archives
The Edward Steichen Archive: The Collection in Context

Edward Steichen Photography Study Center. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1967. Reports and Pamphlets, 1960s. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

The Edward Steichen Archive processing project is now complete. The collection’s finding aid is available and searchable online from any Internet-enabled device, along with MoMA’s other archival collections. Read more

October 14, 2011  |  Five for Friday
Five for Friday: Something Fishy

When I was an art major in high school, Paul Klee was my favorite artist—especially the fishy phase he went through in the 1920s. Postcards of Around the Fish, with its straight-up fish-on-a-platter composition Read more