Alina Szapocznikow Belly-Cushions 1968

  • Not on view

These cushions are based on casts Szapocznikow made of her friend’s belly. They were created as prototypes for mass production, although, like the lamps also on view in this exhibition, they were never used for this purpose. For Szapocznikow, polyurethane foam and polyester resin, which she used increasingly in her sculpture at this time, were inherently modern mediums. She said, “Plastic materials . . . seem perfect to me for attempts to express and capture our age because of their repetitive possibilities, their lightness, their colors, their transparency, their inexpensiveness.”

Gallery label from Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972, October 7, 2012–January 28, 2013.
Additional text

This is one of the first works Szapocznikow made using polyurethane, a versatile industrial material that was first produced in the 1960s. She cast a friend's belly in soft polyurethane foam, planning to create over one hundred copies to be sold as sofa cushions. Seen in isolation from the rest of the body, and multiplied five times, the form here becomes abstract, taking on an uncanny quality that belies its utilitarian purpose. For Szapocznikow, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, casting from bodies was a means to process her present circumstances and past traumas, "to preserve the fleeting moments of my life . . . its paradoxes and complete absurdity."

Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.
Polyurethane, five parts
Each part 5 1/8" to 7" x 11 7/8" x 13 1/2" (13 to18 x 30 x 34 cm)
Promised gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

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].


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].