Museums are defined by their collections, each with a unique point of view that is carefully shaped by curators, who remain mindful of historical precedents as they look ahead to future developments. At the time of The Museum of Modern Art’s founding, in 1929, the terms “modern” and “contemporary” coincided effortlessly. Since then, MoMA curators have sought to distill a timeless ideal of visual presence and meaning from different circumstances, all the while revising and reconsidering the initial paradigms of modern art. In the Department of Architecture and Design, the result of this collective, at times subjective, effort is not just a catalog of objects, but is rather a collection of ideas supported by objects. Several of the ideas and themes developed in the past are still actively discussed, but contemporary curators also regularly identify new concepts worth exploring and representing in the collection.
This installation focuses on works designed during the last few decades that have been acquired by the Museum not only because they met aesthetic and functional standards that are worthy of our collection, but also because they introduce new categories of investigation and new design forms. The galleries feature clusters of acquisitions that tackle, for instance, the relationship between design and violence; new expressions of organic design in response to environmental and societal disruptions; and the increasing importance of interaction design, as seen in eight video games new to the collection.
The exhibition is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Kate Carmody, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.