This MoMA gallery exhibition and accompanying film retrospective will be the first presentation of the Quay Brothers’ work in all their fields of creative activity. Internationally renowned moving image artists and designers, the Quay Brothers were born outside Philadelphia and have worked from their London studio, Atelier Koninck, since the late 1970s. For over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition of filmmakers like Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Svankmajer and the Russian Yuri Norstein, and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s. Beginning with their student films in 1971, the Quay Brothers have produced over 45 moving image works, including two features, music videos, dance films, documentaries, and signature personal works, including The Street of Crocodiles (1986), the Stille Nacht series (1988–2008), Institute Benjamenta (1995), and In Absentia (2000). They have also designed sets and projections for opera, drama, and concert performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991), Ionesco’s The Chairs (Tony-nominated design, 1997), Richard Ayre’s The Cricket Recovers (2005), and recent site-specific pieces based on the work of Bartók and Kafka.
In addition to their better known films, this exhibition will include never-before-seen moving image works and graphic design, drawings, and calligraphy, presenting animated and live-action films alongside installations, objects, and works on paper.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film.