MoMA PS1, one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States, was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc., an organization devoted to organizing exhibitions in underutilized and abandoned spaces across New York City. In 1976, it opened the first major exhibition in its permanent location in Long Island City, Queens, with the seminal Rooms exhibition. An invitation for artists to transform the building’s unique spaces, Rooms established the MoMA PS1 tradition of transforming the building’s spaces into site-specific art that continues today with long-term installations by James Turrell, William Kentridge, Pipilotti Rist, Lawrence Weiner, and others.
For the next 20 years, the building was used as studio, performance, and exhibition space, in support of artists from around the world. After a building-wide renovation, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) reopened in 1997, confirming its position as the leading contemporary art center in New York. True to the building’s history and form, the renovation preserved much of the original architecture, as well as most of its unique classroom-sized galleries.
In 2000, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center became an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art to extend the reach of both institutions, and combine MoMA PS1’s contemporary mission with MoMA’s strength as one of the greatest collecting museums of modern art.
A true artistic laboratory, MoMA PS1 aspires to maintain its diverse and innovative activities to continue to bring contemporary art to international audiences.
Thomas Struth. P.S.1 (now MoMA PS1). 2225 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, New York, c. 1975–76. Gelatin silver print. MoMA PS1, 2291. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York