When we think of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), aka drones, we generally think of drone strikes. But they aren’t all used for state surveillance and military sector attacks. Read more
Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.On Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hand out another batch of gold-plated statuettes, so armchair filmmakers like myself are all in a lather Read more
As artists continue to expand the definition of drawing, and art historians redefine the medium accordingly, the kinds of works on paper we acquire have become increasingly unorthodox, ranging from room-size installations to the traces of performances. Yet sometimes a humble sheet of paper from the beginning of the 20th century is just as radical. Read more
Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst’s The House of Fear (La Maison de la peur) is currently on view in the mezzanine of MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, as part of the display Artist/Novelist. Read more
Through examining four pieces in The Museum of Modern Art’s collection, one can better understand how John Cage’s embrace of indeterminacy can be traced in the period following 4’33″ (1952) and in more recent years, and how these later works play with the concepts of chance and the ephemeral in different ways. Read more
To the visitor, a museum might appear as a collection of objects. And it certainly is, a collection painstakingly assembled by generations of curators. But intrinsic to MoMA’s curatorial approach is the museum as a collection of ideas, represented by the objects (which convey concepts like abstraction, organicism, and postmodernism) and also communicated though the curator’s selection and grouping of objects. As curators, we are constantly identifying timely concepts worth exploring and representing through MoMA’s collection. Because design is a field often directly engaged with the technology and issues of its time, it demands a contemporary approach and interpretation. Our upcoming exhibition A Collection of Ideas presents several lenses through which MoMA looks at design and the contemporary world—significant areas of research that examine the connection between design and violence; the increasingly important field of interaction design; and the relationship between nature and the built environment, which demands urgent attention and redefinition.
“Organic Design,” the first idea explored in this installation, presents the most recent manifestations of a centuries-old quest—learning from nature how to build elegantly, economically, and sustainably. Organic design, influenced by natural forms and processes, has advanced very rapidly in the 21st century. Computer-aided design and 3-D printing technologies have enabled designers to emulate nature’s economies and building methods. Joris Laarman’s 2006 Bone Chair, for example, was designed using three-dimensional optimization software that mimics the generative process of bones to concentrate the object’s mass and strength in the areas that bear the most stress.
“Design and Violence” (also an online curatorial experiment at designandviolence.MoMA.org) seeks to comprehend the complex impact of design on the built environment and on everyday life, as well as the manifestations of violence in contemporary society. Designers aim to change the world around them—often in fundamental ways—and the consequences can be drastic when they overstep, indulge temptations, adopt abhorrent goals, or even simply err. The Museum’s Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, designed by Gerhard Heufler and Hans Georg Schiebel in 2004, is a drone originally intended for aerial landmine detection and eradication. Drones are design objects that have seen an upsurge in news coverage for applications that range from the hostile (as weapons of warfare) to the benign (as delivery vehicles for consumer products).
“Interaction Design” is another idea represented in the display of eight newly acquired videogames (from 1972′s Pong to 2011′s Minecraft), and by digital icons such as the ubiquitous Google Map Pin. The exhibition’s curator, Paola Antonelli points out that,”Interaction designers build the digital dimension of our lives, choreographing everything from the way we tap the screens of our mobile devices to our exchanges with ATM machines.” Our ever more digital world calls for interaction design that is aesthetically appealing, functionally and structurally ingenious, and innovative in how it approaches technology and anticipates user behavior.
These clusters of objects showcase not only new acquisitions and highlights from MoMA’s collection, but also timely categories of investigation and their representative design forms—new ideas and new approaches for the contemporary age.
How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view throughout the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, March 14). Read more
Recently I was watching a 35mm print of a new film acquisition called Vincere (2009), directed by Marco Bellocchio. Vincere tells the story of the rise of Benito Mussolini and Ida Dalser, the woman he kept as his secret lover for decades. At one point in the film, Mussolini pays a visit to the Milan headquarters of the Futurists to view a multimedia art exhibition. Read more
If you visit MoMA’s exhibition There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33″, you will encounter a suite of enigmatic drawings by Fluxus-affiliated poet Jackson Mac Low, comprising swirling letters and seemingly nonsensical combinations of words. Although they seem like meaningless scribbles, the words are actually legible and meant to be read aloud. Read more
MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Library recently made an acquisition sure to excite even the most casual architecture fans: the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive. In addition to many thousands of drawings, photographs, and ephemera, this collection includes over 60 models and building fragments. One of the largest and most expansive models is that of Broadacre City—Frank Lloyd Wright’s utopian reimagining of the city as open space and landscape rather than skyscraper and skyline. Read more