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John Cage and the Northwest School
Mark Tobey. The Void Devouring the Gadget Era. 1942. Tempera on board, 21 7/8 x 30" (55.3 x 76.0 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, 1964. © 2014 Estate of Mark Tobey/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Mark Tobey. The Void Devouring the Gadget Era. 1942. Tempera on board, 21 7/8 x 30″ (55.3 x 76.0 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, 1964. © 2014 Estate of Mark Tobey/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The first gallery of the exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33″ contains works by John Cage’s contemporaries and influences, including such well-known names as Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Albers, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, and Robert Rauschenberg. Works by two lesser-known West Coast artists, Mark Tobey and Morris Graves, also occupy this space, pointing to Cage’s brief but seminal years living in Seattle. Read more

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May 8, 2014  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Speaking with Joan Snyder about Sweet Cathy’s Song (1978)

Installation view, caption TK

Installation view of the fourth-floor Alfred H. Barr Painting and Sculpture Galleries, The Museum of Modern Art, spring 2014. Pictured are works by (from left to right) Sam Gilliam, Dennis Oppenheim (in case), Elizabeth Murray, Joan Snyder, and (on floor) Lynda Benglis

A new installation in the galleries brings together a diverse group of works from the late 1960s and 1970s, a moment when many artists radically reexamined the medium of painting. Read more

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May 1, 2014  |  Artists, MoMA Stores
Now Available at the MoMA Stores: UNIQLO at MoMA Art-Inspired Accessories

UNIQLO has had a long and fruitful relationship with MoMA, and through UNIQLO Free Friday Nights has helped advance the Museum’s mission by making art and design accessible to everyone. To celebrate its continued support of MoMA, this spring UNIQLO unveiled UNIQLO at MoMA, an assortment of T-shirts, tote bags, bandanas, and socks that feature artwork by world-renowned artists, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Jackson Pollock, and Ryan McGinness. Read more

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Yoko Ono’s Secret Piece
Yoko Ono Grapefruit

Yoko Ono. Grapefruit. 1964. Artist’s book (Tokyo: Wunternaum Press). Offset on paper, 5 1/2 x 5 1/16″ (13.9 x 13.8 x 3.1 cm) (overall, closed)

Many of the works featured in the exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33″ were created around 1960, as a generation of artists and students of John Cage reacted to the radical possibilities opened up by his 4’33″. The score had finally been published eight years after its first performance at Woodstock in 1952. Read more

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April 25, 2014  |  Artists, Current Exhibitions
Rebel Photography: Robert Heinecken as Visual Guerrilla
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Cover of Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, the first retrospective since the artist’s death in 2006, contains over 100 photo-based works created by Heinecken between 1962 and 1999. Heinecken was best known for working in the medium of photography and with manipulating images, but surprisingly, he seldom used a camera, Read more

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April 24, 2014  |  Artists, Current Exhibitions
The Inscrutable Gestures of Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns. Untitled. 2013. Ink on plastic, 27 1/2 × 36" (69.9 × 91.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Promised gift from a private collection. © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo: Jerry Thompson

Jasper Johns. Untitled. 2013. Ink on plastic, 27 1/2 × 36″ (69.9 × 91.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Promised gift from a private collection. © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo: Jerry Thompson

It caught my eye when I read last week that Jasper Johns has created a print on translucent paper for the May issue of Art in America magazine. Apparently, the print will feature several of Johns’s “signature motifs,” but the translucent paper might be considered somewhat of a signature motif in its own way. Read more

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April 16, 2014  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Metamorphoses: Paul Gauguin’s Oil Transfer Drawings
Paul Gauguin. <i>Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit</i> (recto). c. 1900. Oil transfer drawing

Paul Gauguin. Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit (recto). c. 1900. Oil transfer drawing. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (by exchange), Vincent d’Aquila and Harry Soviak Bequest Fund (by exchange), and acquired through the generosity of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Endowment for Prints, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mary M. Spencer, and Stephen Dull, 2014

One of the most extraordinary works in the current exhibition Gauguin: Metamorphoses is Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit (c. 1900), which was acquired for MoMA’s collection just weeks before the exhibition opened. Among the many exceptionally innovative works on paper that are the focus of the exhibition, this exciting new acquisition stands out for its monumental scale and magisterial presence. Read more

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April 10, 2014  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Another World
Installation view of <i>A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio</i>, The Museum of Modern Art, February 8–October 5, 2014

Installation view of A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio, The Museum of Modern Art, February 8–October 5, 2014

“Coming into Brancusi’s studio was like entering another world.” – Man Ray, 1963

Man Ray. Laboratory of the Future. 1935. Gelatin silver print

Man Ray. Laboratory of the Future. 1935. Gelatin silver print, 9 1/16 x 7″ (23.1 x 17.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of James Johnson Sweeney. © 2014 Man Ray Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

This short but evocative quote currently appears high on the wall just inside the entrance to The Edward Steichen Photography Galleries, on MoMA’s third floor. Read more

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March 26, 2014  |  Artists
Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun: “A Work of Art that Works in Life”
Artist Olafur Eliasson with his new design the Little Sun. Photo: Tomas Gislason

Artist Olafur Eliasson with his new design the Little Sun. Photo: Tomas Gislason

Since the early 1990s, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has used art to challenge how we experience and interact with the world. The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1′s 2008 exhibition Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson—the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to date—transformed MoMA’s galleries into hybrid spaces of nature and culture, prompting an intensive engagement with the world and offering a fresh consideration of everyday life.

Nature serves as a constant source of fascination for Eliasson, but light in particular is one of his favorite mediums and most effective tools. For the artist, light is not incidental: it is an instrument through which he communes with the public. For example, in Room for one color (1997), mono-frequency lights eliminate every wavelength except for yellow, and provoke an involuntary neurological response that intensifies the participants’ perception of detail and dimension. Conversely, 360° room for all colours (2002), utilizes a circular enclosure backlit by 750 lamps that change hue slowly, plunging the participant deep into the color spectrum, dissolving the line between reality and the imagination.

The Little Sun is featured on the cover of MoMA Design Store's spring catalog

The Little Sun is featured on the cover of MoMA Design Store’s spring catalog

Light acts as muse once again in his most recent piece, Little Sun, but this time the artist’s ambition is not merely to use art to alter our perception of the environment; it is to use art to affect social change on a global level.

“I have an obsession with light,” says Eliasson. “How light forms a space. How a space forms light. As a child I grew up in Iceland where there is no sunlight in the winter. It simply stays dark all day. Light became [something that] pulled people together. Light became a way of connecting to other people. Light is social. Light is life.”

The brainchild of Eliasson and solar engineer Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun is a solar-powered LED light described by the artist as a “work of art that works in life.” Nearly one quarter of the world’s population does not have access to electricity. When the sun sets, entire communities grind to a halt. Poverty reduction strategies are difficult to implement, as working hours are limited to daytime, medical care is dangerous to provide, and education levels drop since children cannot study after sunset.

Kerosene lanterns are a common off-grid solution to these issues, yet an evening of breathing in a kerosene lamp’s toxic emissions is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes. As they spend more hours in the home, women and children suffer disproportionately from breathing-related problems, burns, and fires caused by kerosene-powered lanterns and candles. And while polluting homes on a local level, kerosene also impacts the environment on a global scale, releasing 190 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere per year.

Little Sun in use for reading. Photo: Michael Tsegaye

Little Sun in use for reading. Photo: Michael Tsegaye

In addition to being healthier and more eco-friendly than kerosene, Little Sun is also more affordable. The cost of one Little Sun lamp (which lasts approximately three years) is equivalent to the cost of three to six months of kerosene-fueled light. The Little Sun may be small, but like its namesake, it is extremely powerful. A five-hour charge produces up to three hours of bright light, and up to 10 hours of lower light.

“It’s for cooking, eating, reading, learning, but it’s also for earning,” says Eliasson. “The distribution part of this project is also powerful. If [local merchants] make a few bucks selling it there’s something there that I consider a work of art as well. The microeconomic infrastructure that needs to take this to the end user is also part of the Little Sun vision.”

Since its 2012 launch at the Tate Modern, Little Sun has not only received official certification from Lighting Africa—a joint IFC and World Bank program—but, to date, 126,402 lamps have been distributed worldwide; one in three going to areas without electricity. The lamp currently has distribution in seven African countries, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, as well as in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan.

Little Sun window graphics for the MoMA Design Store

Little Sun window graphics for the MoMA Design Store

MoMA and the MoMA Design Store are proud to support this brilliant initiative, and through April our store windows will be dedicated to the Little Sun project, with the goal of bringing these pressing social issues to light and empowering the public through art and design. Every purchase makes it possible for the Little Sun to be sold in off-grid communities at locally affordable prices. To Eliasson, one part of the artwork is the lamp and the activities it enables. The other is the successful distribution of the Little Sun in off-grid communities, and its journey from production to usage.

“I need you to power this project” says Eliasson. “Holding power in your hands is very liberating. It makes you feel resourceful, connected—whether you’re a child or adult, on-grid or off-grid. This is something we all share. In everyday life, it is important that we critically engage in global initiatives and local contexts. Our actions have consequences for the world. Little Sun is a wedge that opens up the urgent discussion about bringing sustainable energy to all from the perspective of art.”

Little Sun windows, now on view at the MoMA Stores. Photo Joshua Casey

Little Sun windows, now on view at the MoMA Stores. Photo: Joshua Casey

Visit any of the MoMA Stores to see the windows, learn more about the project, and to purchase your own Little Sun. Or, if you don’t live in NYC, the Little Sun is also available at MoMAstore.org.

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February 26, 2014  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
Leonora Carrington’s House of Fear
Installation view of Artist/Novelist, The Museum of Modern Art, January 8–March 31, 2014. Photo: Jennifer Tobias

Installation view of Artist/Novelist, The Museum of Modern Art, January 8–March 31, 2014. Photo: Jennifer Tobias

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