MoMA’s first sports-related exhibition was 1962’s Design for Sport. From its inception, MoMA had been active in establishing an inclusive concept of modernist design: of this exhibition, Time magazine wrote that encountering sporting design at MoMA was no more or less surprising than seeing classic cars, Japanese houses, or geodesic domes. More than 100 examples of sports equipment such as baseball bats and hockey gloves were assembled under a tent in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. An essay in the catalogue noted that the canoes and tennis rackets were in fact not so out of place next to the bronze sculptures: for curator Arthur Drexler, not only were form and function ideally united in these objects, but their design could also be understood to be in harmony with the classical concept that passionately committed competition is a virtue far more important than winning.
Design for Sport
May 15–July 29, 1962 The Museum of Modern Art