• MoMA, Floor 5, 519 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

MoMA’s first purpose-built building, at 11 West 53rd Street, opened to the public in 1939. It was designed amid lively debates around the question, “How should modern art be exhibited?” Many believed that the radically new forms of early-20th-century art required strikingly new types of spaces in which they would be encountered by the public. Proposals ranged dramatically—from the scale of the cabinet to the scale of the tower. Some exhibition designers carefully choreographed the trajectory and even the posture of visitors, while others created loosely structured, expansive spaces that encouraged serendipitous discoveries and open-ended associations between works. On the occasion of MoMA’s most recent expansion, looking back at some of these concepts reminds us that the architecture of museums, galleries, and exhibitions plays an important role in determining how art is experienced.

13 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].