Institutions that engage in munificent and far-reaching lending forge important collegial relationships with one another, and in the process help to create a network of public spaces with dynamic, diverse programming. Rarely, however, are these relationships sanctioned in any official capacity, which is what makes the affiliation between MoMA and P.S.1 so special. The two joined forces in 2000, with the goal to “promote the enjoyment, appreciation, study, and understanding of contemporary art to a wide and growing audience.” In the last ten years the institutions have worked together in many ways, but 1969, an exhibition on view at P.S.1 through April 5, is the first time that a group exhibition at the Long Island City center has been drawn entirely from MoMA’s collection.
Occupying an entire floor at P.S.1, the exhibition features some eighty objects representing all seven of MoMA’s departmental collections plus the Museum Archives. I was delighted to discover dozens of works for the first time, as well as to embrace long cherished images that I had never before seen in person. Just as gratifying was seeing several works—works that MoMA visitors are surely familiar with—in a new context.