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Take a Breather: Summergarden at MoMA

Guests, participants, performers or guides, "Interpenactors," at art happening, "Interpenning," created by Marta Minujin, with technical assistant, Gary Glover. Summergarden Program, August 11, 1972. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

Guests, participants, performers or guides, “Interpenactors,” at art happening, “Interpenning,” created by Marta Minujin, with technical assistant, Gary Glover. Summergarden Program, August 11, 1972. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York


“A mere glimpse restores my sagging soul,” wrote Lillian Gerard, Special Projects Coordinator at MoMA, of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in a letter to Richard Shepard at The New York Times in 1975. She went on to describe it as “as a meeting place for young lovers, senior citizens, jumping children, foreign travelers, and out-of-towners” and in particular singled out “…its evenings with performers as ardent and free as the trees and the sculpture that thrive in this oasis of fountains and pools, with the sky above and cement below.” Read more

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Touching Art: Teaching with the MoMA Library’s Artist Book Collection
Making the Moving Image: Past to Present workshop, April 2, 2016, The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Manuel Martagon. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Making the Moving Image: Past to Present workshop, April 2, 2016, The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Manuel Martagon. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Earlier this month, I worked with artist and educator Mark Joshua Epstein to bring a group of workshop participants to view objects in the MoMA Library that are not typically associated with modern art: artist-made flip books. This visit was part of Making the Moving Image: Past to Present, a studio workshop about experimentation with animation techniques that predate the invention of cinema. I watched participants hold and manipulate the books and was struck by how the direct physical contact with an artist’s work makes visiting the library’s collection of artist books so unique. Read more

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April 1, 2016  |  Artists, Library and Archives
From the Archives: Seeing Double with Ray Johnson

It’s no secret that Ray Johnson’s tongue-in-cheek and often ambiguous style was meant to both highlight and obscure meaning through an appropriation of words and images. His life-long commitment to that practice is visible in a collection of correspondence sent to Robert Rauschenberg between the years 1952 and 1965, which is newly available in MoMA’s Archives. This collection—which includes small collages, newspaper clippings, postcards, and flyers—serves as an excellent example of Johnson’s enigmatic mail art of the 1950s and 1960s. Read more

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February 12, 2016  |  Behind the Scenes, Library and Archives
Don, the MoMA Guard Dog

June 3, 1933. New York Herald Tribune. Public Information Records, I.Z. [mf 43;257]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

New York Herald Tribune. June 3, 1933. Public Information Records, I.Z. [mf 43;257]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

In June 1933, Don, a German Shepherd, was given to The Museum of Modern Art by Vanity Fair magazine’s kennel department. Frank Crowninshield, editor of the magazine, was a trustee of the Museum. Read more

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December 17, 2015  |  Library and Archives
From the Archives: Holiday Cards from MoMA
Robert Indiana's LOVE (1965) is one of many holiday cards commissioned by The Junior Council of the Museum. The image subsequently became well-known in various other contexts. © 2015 Morgan Art Foundation Ltd./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Robert Indiana’s LOVE (1965) is one of many holiday cards commissioned by The Junior Council of the Museum. The image subsequently became well-known in various other contexts. © 2015 Morgan Art Foundation Ltd./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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.” Read more

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November 4, 2015  |  Library and Archives
From the Archives: “GOOD NEWS PICASSO HAS AGREED TO EXHIBITION AT MOMA”

That all-caps title was the message relayed by MoMA staff from Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the Director of Museum Collections, to René d’Harnoncourt, the Museum’s director, confirming that the landmark exhibition The Sculpture of Picasso would indeed Read more

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October 23, 2015  |  Library and Archives
From the Archives: Dance and Theater

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. Read more

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October 13, 2015  |  Library and Archives
The Margaret Scolari Barr Papers: Now Open for Research at MoMA Archives
Margaret Scolari Barr with Alfred H. Barr, Jr., January 7, 1971. Photograph by Gjon Mili.  Margaret Scolari Barr Papers, V.9*. The Museum of Modern Art Archives

Margaret Scolari Barr with Alfred H. Barr, Jr., January 7, 1971. Photograph by Gjon Mili. Margaret Scolari Barr Papers, V.9*. The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Margaret Scolari Barr Papers, which document the life and career of Margaret Scolari Barr—noted art historian, teacher, supporter of the arts, and wife of MoMA’s founding director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr—are now open for research at the MoMA Archives. Read more

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July 1, 2015  |  Library and Archives
Extra Art: Artists’ Ephemera in the Library
Raymond Pettibon, flyer for Black Flag show

Raymond Pettibon, flyer for Black Flag show

The MoMA Library recently acquired the Steven Leiber collection of artists’ generated ephemera featured in the 2001 exhibition, and corresponding exhibition catalog, Extra Art: A Survey of Artists’ Ephemera, 1960–1999. The scope of the collection covers a broad span of art movements including Fluxus, Arte Povera, Conceptual art, visual poetry, Minimalism, Pop art, and more, with the physical contents being similarly widely varied. Read more

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February 25, 2015  |  Behind the Scenes, Library and Archives
FOUND! Photographs from MoMA’s 1944 Norman Bel Geddes’ War Maneuver Models Exhibition
"Sterling silver models of tanks, jeeps, trucks, etc." being  installed during exhibition.    Exhibition Dates:  January 26, 1944 through March 5, 1944.  Photographic  Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.  Photographer, Herbert Gehr

“Sterling silver models of tanks, jeeps, trucks, etc.” being installed for the exhibition Norman Bel Geddes’ War Maneuver Models, January 26–March 5, 1944. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Herbert Gehr

As Archives Specialist in the MoMA Archives, I am always on the prowl for images depicting how our exhibitions were installed. Sadly, up until the 1960s only about 75% of MoMA’s exhibitions were documented with official installation photographs, usually due to budget constraints. So imagine my excitement on one dark, drab winter day earlier this year when, while working in the Photographic Archive, I came across a folder labeled, “Visitors in Galleries,” and discovered that these visitors were in galleries for an exhibition for which we had no visual record Read more