Russell Crotty Five Nocturnes 1996

  • Not on view

An amateur astronomer and self–proclaimed nature lover, Crotty continuously makes meticulous drawings of stars, comets, asteroids, and planets as viewed from the telescope in his homemade observatory in Malibu, California. This ledger consists of five ink drawings of the night sky: as seen from the ground, through a telescope, as a map of constellations, and as a density study. Simultaneously reminiscent of nineteenth–century scientific illustrations and the repetitive patterns of Minimalist art, each page spread shows a different aspect of Crotty's drawing practice, which ranges from austere celestial maps to more mystical evening landscapes.

Gallery label from Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing, March 26–July 7, 2008.
Ballpoint pen on paper in bound book
(closed): 62 x 31 1/2 x 2" (157.5 x 80 x 5.1 cm) (open): 62 x 117" (157.5 x 297.2 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art
Object number
© 2024 Russell Crotty
Drawings and Prints

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].