Oct 21, 2019–Jan 26, 2020


Massoud Hassani. Mine Kafon wind-powered deminer. 2011. Bamboo and biodegradable plastics, 87 × 87 × 87" (221 × 221 × 221 cm). Gift of the Contemporary Arts Council of the Museum of Modern Art
  • MoMA, Floor 1, 1 South

Energy is the indispensable fuel of life for all species. For humans, it has become almost an addiction. The search for new sources of energy and the exploitation of existing ones have driven progress, formed and informed cultures, transfigured landscapes, and ignited wars. Throughout the 20th century, everything from objects to buildings and entire cities was conceived to maximize immediate output and productivity. Modern architecture and design were powered by electricity, and linked to energy production and distribution. In order to secure energy, we have deforested, drilled, mined, extracted, removed mountaintops, and terraformed the planet.

In the 21st century, many designers have become aware of their role and responsibility in these disruptive activities, and have adjusted their practices accordingly. If in the past design led us to devour energy at an ever-growing rate, design can now help us conserve it and behave more responsibly. The objects presented here engage with energy in its myriad forms—from thermal and kinetic to electrical and even reproductive. They represent its sourcing, deployment, consumption, and preservation. They showcase the technological advancements of the past decades, while proposing alternatives for a future in which resources might not be as readily available.

Organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Anna Burckhardt, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

  • This exhibition is part of Opening Season, Fall 2019.
    • In conjunction with Energy, The Museum of Modern Art commissioned The Embodied Energy Pilot Project at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation to create a series of visualizations about embodied energy—what it is and how it relates to the Museum's new building.

    The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation.

    Special thanks to MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.

    MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

    Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, The Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Alice and Tom Tisch, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The Keith Haring Foundation, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro.

    Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, GRoW @ Annenberg, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Agnes Gund, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.


    Installation images

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