After seeing Faith Ringgold’s monumental, harrowing painting, American People Series #20: Die (1967), currently installed in the Museum and reading Thomas J. Lax’s incredibly thoughtful and moving post (as well as this recent notice from ARTnews, I was inspired to reflect upon this new acquisition.
Posts by Michelle Elligott
From the Archives: Faith Ringgold, the Art Workers Coalition, and the Fight for Inclusion at The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas card program was initiated in 1954 by the Museum’s Junior Council. The Junior Council, an affiliate group, had been founded five years earlier “to bring together a group of younger people who have a common interest in the arts and a desire to see them fostered soundly and liberally in this country.”
Dance and performance are enjoying a renaissance at MoMA—take for example, performances happening at MoMA this fall, such as Trajal Harrell’s The Return of La Argentina or Walid Raad’s Scratching on things I could disavow: Walkthrough. This tendency is apparent at other modern and contemporary arts organizations around the world as well, like the Live program at Tate Modern. But at MoMA the interest in dance and theater is not new. In fact, since its inception in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art has adopted a radical approach to presenting the art of our time.
In 1929, three women, Lillie P. Bliss, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Mary Quinn Sullivan, joined forces to establish a museum based in New York City that was devoted exclusively to modern art. Over the course of the next 15 years, over one and a half million visitors paid their respects to the result of their efforts: The Museum of Modern Art. As it turns out, a tiny percentage of these visitors are memorialized in a leather-bound guest register that was brought out by Museum staffers for only its most illustrious guests to sign. The guest book, which now resides in our Archives, is a fascinating document from MoMA’s fledgling years and serves as a reminder of the appeal of the Museum to well-known figures from a wide range of social, professional, and cultural backgrounds.
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