• MoMA, Floor 5, 511 The David Geffen Wing

What would a city of towers look like? From its first appearance in the late 19th century, the American skyscraper fundamentally changed the shape and experience of the city. By the early 20th century, Europe’s avant-garde architects celebrated America’s bold conquest of height, and new building technologies prompted a competition across the Atlantic to innovate structural approaches and ever-greater transparency.

But challenging the scale of historic cities also sparked anxiety. These dramatic changes were radical—what if offices towered over churches? Artists began to represent the transforming urban landscape in new ways, creating a dialogue between the city and art making. Inventive photographers and cinematographers, for example, explored methods of capturing the sensory impact of the modern city’s expanded scale, accelerated pace of movement, and vertiginous heights.

23 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

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 https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

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].

Feedback

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