Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst’s The House of Fear (La Maison de la peur) is currently on view in the mezzanine of MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, as part of the display Artist/Novelist. Read more
In the second installment of Inside/Out’s spotlight on our new series of artist-produced housewares, the MoMA Design Store is excited to debut a suite of candles and Limoges porcelain collectible trays and plates with Ligne Blanche Paris. The collaboration was spearheaded by The MoMA Design Store’s Director of Merchandising Emmanuel Plat and Ligne Blanche Paris Founder Pierre Pelegry, and launched last week at the MoMA Stores.
“Both the MoMa Design Store and Ligne Blanche Paris have a similar goal: to pique the public’s interest in the work of contemporary artists through design. Since expanding the work of artists to high-quality domestic products has become a focus for the MoMA Design Store, the collaboration was a natural fit,” says Plat.
As eclectic as the artists featured, the suite provides a unique survey of disparate artistic voices and methods of creation over the last four decades.
Robert Longo’s adroit use of chiaroscuro modeling with charcoal heightens the impact of his subject matter, and gives his pieces—from his blackened American flags to his figure and animal studies—gravitas and a timeless quality.
Alex Katz is recognized as a hugely influential precursor to the Pop art movement and one of the most respected American artists working today. Katz’s portraits and figure studies are characterized by their flatness of form, restrained lines, and aloof subjects.
A bricoleur of everyday objects, Tom Sachs distills the spirit of the modern era and our relationship to consumerism in his flashy reproductions of commodities.
Drawn to celebrity, melodrama, and erotic narrative, Jack Pierson produces works that are infused with literal and visual references to unrequited love, desire, faded stardom, and sentimental musings. Pierson’s typographic Golden Years (2010) relies heavily on the visual poetics of typography and can be interpreted as wistful homage to the halcyon years of one’s life.
From across the pond comes a quartet of plates by British art renegades Gilbert & George, whose prolific career has spanned almost five decades. The dynamic duo juxtapose their look-alike, robotic visages with a hyper-saturated potpourri of images—from anonymous pastoral landscapes to shots of London’s gritty inner-city—to confront the viewer and completely immerse him or her in the visual experience.
The line also includes work by three renowned artists whose prolific and highly influential careers were tragically cut short: Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring. Though contemporaries during the 1980s, their respective bodies of work encompass distinct experiences that are radically different in tone, character, and execution.
Ligne Blanche Paris worked closely with the estates of these artists to create products that capture the spirit of those they represent.
“Every product is devised in perfect knowledge of, and with a scrupulous respect for, the works of the artists with whom we work,” says Pelegry.
The MoMA Design Store will carry a limited number of these artist edition plates at two store locations: on West 53rd Street across from the Museum, and in SoHo at 81 Spring Street.
Through examining four pieces in The Museum of Modern Art’s collection, one can better understand how John Cage’s embrace of indeterminacy can be traced in the period following 4’33″ (1952) and in more recent years, and how these later works play with the concepts of chance and the ephemeral in different ways. Read more
This season the MoMA Design Store is pleased to announce the launch of an exclusive new series of artist-produced wares. To celebrate these artistic collaborations we’re going share with Inside/Out readers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of designing these exciting products, and background about the artists involved. Read more
If you visit MoMA’s exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33″, you will encounter a suite of enigmatic drawings by Fluxus-affiliated poet Jackson Mac Low, comprising swirling letters and seemingly nonsensical combinations of words. Although they seem like meaningless scribbles, the words are actually legible and meant to be read aloud. Read more
Rauschenberg affixed the bald eagle onto a canvas that would eventually become Canyon (1959), one in a series of radically experimental works he called Combines, which mixed paint and other art materials with things found in daily life. In Canyon, a seemingly incongruous variety of objects surround the eagle, including a photograph of Rauschenberg’s son, Christopher; a postcard of the Statue of Liberty; a man’s white shirt, cut and opened up; a crumpled tube of paint; fragments of printed words; and an industrial metal drum.
Rauschenberg: Canyon, the latest volume in the MoMA One on One series, sheds light on the genesis of this startling and enigmatic work by tracing the artist’s education, influences, and travels through Italy, Morocco, and Spain. Rauschenberg first started using found materials while attending Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina, where every student was required to pitch in with community labor. Rauschenberg volunteered for garbage collection, and ended up incorporating the objects he found in his classmates’ trash into his art. The hybrid creations he began producing in the mid-1950 with recognizable, everyday items offered a defiant counterpoint to the quintessential American style of Abstract Expressionism that prevailed at the time. As he wrote in his earliest statement on the Combines, in 1956: “I consider the text of a newspaper, the detail of a photograph, the stitch in a baseball, and the filament in a light bulb as fundamental to the painting as brush stroke or enamel drip of paint. In the end, what one sees as my work is what I choose to make with no guarantee of enlightenment, humor, beauty or art.”
Canyon, currently on view at MoMA in Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New, had been in gallerist Ileana Sonnabend’s personal collection since she purchased it from the artist the year it was made. Sonnabend was one of Rauschenberg’s lifelong champions, and her support played a significant role in his becoming the first American artist to be awarded the grand prize at the Venice Biennale, in 1964. Following her death in 2007, her heirs entered a curious debate with the IRS regarding the work. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 made it illegal to buy, sell, barter, or possess a bald eagle in the U.S. Canyon was allowed to remain in Sonnabend’s collection because Rauschenberg had provided a notarized statement saying the bird had been stuffed by one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders before the laws’ passage, but because it could not be sold, the family’s appraisers had valued it at zero. The IRS disagreed, ruling that it was worth far more, and assessed an estate tax and penalties on the heirs. The resolution they reached allowed the family to donate the work to a U.S. institution in exchange for dropping the tax claim. Thus, in 2012, Canyon was generously donated to The Museum of Modern Art, where it joins five other Combines, to provide an in-depth representation of this key aspect of Rauschenberg’s career.
To learn more, download a free preview of Rauschenberg: Canyon by Leah Dickerman.
In honor of Mike Kelley’s exceptional career and legacy, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene), a seminal work in his complex videography, is on view both at MoMA PS1—as part of the artist’s posthumous retrospective—and in MoMA’s second-floor Projects Gallery.
MoMA’s Jackson Pollock Conservation Project: Bringing the Project to Conclusion: Restoration of Number 1A, 1948
Readers who have been following the blog will recognize a pattern in our approach to conservation treatment of Number 1A, 1948, the final of three Jackson Pollock paintings that have been the focus of our 18-month project. Read more
One of the most relevant figures in 20th-century art, and a paradigm of the communion of art and politics, León Ferrari sadly passed away last July, at age 92. Paying homage to his achievements and extraordinary legacy, a selection of his work, drawn from MoMA’s collection, was recently on view outside the Museum’s second-floor Marron Atrium. Read more
What happens when the Museum turns into a laboratory for artists?
This year MoMA’s Department of Education invited artists Allison Smith, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and the creative collective The Office for Creative Research to be part of the second year of Artists Experiment, an initiative to develop public engagement experiences through collaboration with contemporary artists. Exploring MoMA’s history, resources, and spaces, each of these artists approaches the Museum like a laboratory—a place for thinking, collaborating, and experimenting with the museum experience and our visitors.
San Francisco–based artist Allison Smith’s work investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment, or “living history,” using it as a means of addressing the relationship between American history, social activism, and craft.
At MoMA, Allison is researching the history of the Department of Education, specifically exploring the work and programs developed by MoMA’s first director of education, Victor D’Amico. Allison is considering how MoMA’s rich history can speak to our current education practices, mining strategies and ideas from the past to inspire new experiences at the Museum today.
Brooklyn-based artist Paul Ramirez Jonas is interested in articulating shared stories and histories, working with and transforming different forms of public art and public symbols.
Paul has been looking at the visitor experience at MoMA, exploring public spaces designed for interaction including the bookstore and the Museum’s information desks.
He asks the question, how can we build on the visitor experience at MoMA.
New York–based collective The Office for Creative Research (O-C-R) includes artists and data experts Jer Thorp, Ben Rubin, and Mark Hansen, a multidisciplinary research group exploring new modes of engagement with data, through unique practices that borrow from science, technology, and the arts.
O-C-R is looking at massive amounts of information from the Museum’s collection database. From image titles to notes on how to install a work, O-C-R is thinking about how this data can be explored and activated by Museum visitors to facilitate interaction, learning, and exchange.
What can you expect?
Throughout the winter and spring, Artists Experiment will present a range of programs and interactions developed with each of these artists. To kick things off, we invite you to join us for the January 29 launch event, Social Exchange: Artists’ Reception. This special event is a chance to meet the artists in person and get a little taste of what’s to come. The Office for Creative Research and Allison Smith are creating an interactive, performative work for the evening, and Chef Lynn Bound is preparing a special menu in collaboration with Paul Ramirez Jonas. We hope you’ll join us for this warm, winter celebration!
Look out for other upcoming Artists Experiment programs at MoMA.org/artistsexperiment.