Life Cycles

The Materials of Contemporary Design

Through Jul 7

MoMA

Adhi Nugraha. Cow Dung Lamps. 2021. Processed cow dung, PVA glue, and electronics. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Architecture and Design Funds. Photo: Studio Periphery
  • MoMA, Floor 1, 1 South

Any act of good design must also be an act of empathy, respect, and responsibility toward all living organisms and ecosystems—as well as future generations. By translating scientific, technological, and social revolutions into objects and behaviors, design can be an agent of positive change and play a crucial part in restoring the fragile ties between humans and the rest of nature. Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design explores the regenerative power of design as it shifts its focus towards a more collaborative rapport with the natural world.

The objects in this exhibition highlight the entire life cycle of the materials they are made of. From extraction to reuse or disposal, designers are exploring new ways—sometimes drawn from old traditions—to enlist materials in their efforts to bring ecosystems into balance. Cow manure collected from the streets of Indonesia is transformed into casings for loudspeakers and lamps. Bricks made from crop waste and fungi mycelium are used as a carbon-neutral building material. Bees fabricate honeycomb vases over human-made forms. These objects demonstrate that design can be elegant, innovative, and compelling, while at the same time offering new strategies for repairing our planet.

Organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Maya Ellerkmann, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation, and supporter of programs that look to a more sustainable future.

Leadership support is provided by Eva and Glenn Dubin.

Additional funding for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi Haas, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art. Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by The Sundheim Family Foundation.

The Bloomberg Connects digital experience is made possible through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Artists

Installation images

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