Artist’s Choice

Stephen Sondheim

Dec 19, 2005–Jan 8, 2006


The Artist’s Choice series began in 1989, when the artist Scott Burton was invited to organize an exhibition of works drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection. Subsequently, John Baldessari, Chuck Close, Mona Hatoum, Ellsworth Kelly, and Elizabeth Murray have also made Artist’s Choice selections. When, in 2005, MoMA asked the composer, lyricist, and screenwriter Stephen Sondheim to prepare an exhibition, Sondheim decided to make his choices strictly from MoMA’s film archives. He selected 15 feature-length films, nine of which are shown this month. Sondheim writes, “These are just a few of my favorite movies. I wanted to restrict the list to films that many movie buffs might not know, but The Museum of Modern Art doesn’t own a lot of them (for example, [Lucian] Pintilie’s The Oak, [Vyacheslav] Krishtofovich’s Adam’s Rib, [Nikita] Mikhalkov’s Slave of Love, [Robert] Bresson’s Au hasard balthazar). As a result, there are some overly familiar titles on the list. The Museum asked me to include a sentence or two explaining each choice. I hope my reasons don’t sound too much like the pompous pitches that often constitute the program notes at film festivals.”

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film and Media.

  • This film series is part of Artist’s Choice.
  • The Artist’s Choice exhibition series is made possible through The Agnes Gund Artist’s Choice Fund endowed by Iara Lee and George Gund III, Lulie and Gordon Gund, Ann and Graham Gund, and Sarah and Geoffrey Gund. Additional support is provided by The Dana Foundation


    If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

    MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

    If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


    This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].