Jazz Score

Apr 16–Sep 17, 2008


Lech Majewski. Był Jazz. 1982. Half-sheet poster, Poland, 26 × 38″ (66 × 96.5 cm). Courtesy of Ylain and Donald Mayer, Contemporary Posters, New York, and Tom Kuznar, Classic Polish Film Posters
  • MoMA, Floor T1, Theater 1 Gallery Theater 1 Gallery
  • MoMA, Floor T2, Theater 2 Gallery Theater 2 Gallery

This gallery exhibition, presented concurrently with an extensive series of films and live concerts, features a sampling of jazz-influenced merchandising, including a display of Polish and American film posters; video clips of jazz-scored scenes spanning five decades of international cinema; and a large-scale installation of original animation art from John and Faith Hubley’s Adventures of an * (1957)—a landmark short, newly restored by the Museum, featuring music by Benny Carter—and John Canemaker’s Bridgehampton (1998), featuring music by Fred Hersch. The animated works are also shown in full, both in the gallery and as part of the film series.

The introduction of contemporary jazz to film scoring in the mid-twentieth century brought fresh forms of sophistication and innovation to world cinema. Musicians like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Lewis, and Quincy Jones joined Hollywood composers like Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, and Henry Mancini in exploring modern ways of accompanying both the light and serious moods of films. The improvisational nature of jazz expression also suited the radical spirit of independent and New Wave filmmaking throughout the world. Even today, jazz music continues to have a dramatic impact on the visual design of film trailers and the graphics of film promotion.

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, and Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.

The exhibition is made possible by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art and by the Nicholas Martini Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Polish Cultural Institute, New York.


  • Press release 7 pages


Installation images

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