The Family of Man opened to the public on January 24, 1955. It included 503 works by 273 photographers hailing from 68 countries. The United States Information Agency circulated five copies of the exhibition, which were presented at 88 venues in 37 countries around the world over the next decade. In 1994, a version of the exhibition was permanently installed at the Clervaux Castle in Luxembourg, where visitors today can experience the exhibition as it was seen by more than seven million people over the last 60 years. As significant as that audience might be, it pales in comparison with the number of people who have held in their hands one of the 300,000 copies that have been sold of the accompanying catalogue, also first published in 1955.
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Like most children growing up in the last half of the 20th century, I dreamed of a 64-count box of Crayola crayons. In school we had eight-count boxes. I wanted 64—all the myriad colors including bittersweet, sky blue, and raw umber. The 64-count box also had a built-in sharpener. A virtual Technicolor assortment of waxy goodness and a sharpener to keep them in ready condition! What more could a child have wanted? I drew all kinds of pictures and shapes, some more recognizable than others.
Since its founding in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art’s pioneering directors, curators, and trustees have dedicated themselves to collecting the foremost examples of the “art of our time.” To celebrate the range of styles and ideas that constitute the collection’s evolving foundation, from legendary favorites to lesser-known masterworks and contemporary landmarks, the Museum recently published Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, with an introduction by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture. Here, she tells us a bit about the process of choosing works for the book, which represents only about 5% of the Museum’s Painting and Sculpture Collection.
Books are a staple of the gift-giving season, and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for a elegant tome for a colleague, a playful yet smart book kids will love as much as parents, or a classic edition for an art connoisseur, you’ll find a book to suit every taste from MoMA’s award-winning publications. Here are our picks in some of the most popular categories:
The Museum of Modern Art first exhibited Nicholas Nixon’s photographs of the Brown Sisters in 1976, as part of his first-ever solo exhibition titled Longer Views: 40 Photographs by Nick Nixon. The series was in its infancy at the time and only two portraits of the sisters existed,
“One day the artist Henri Matisse cut a small bird from a piece of white paper. It was a simple shape but he liked the way it looked and didn’t want to throw it out. So he pinned it on the wall of his apartment to cover up a stain.”
Thus begins Matisse’s Garden, the story of an endlessly curious artist who used scissors and painted paper to make something utterly new. Written by Samantha Friedman, an assistant curator at MoMA and co-organizer of the exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, and featuring colorful cut-paper illustrations by Italian designer Cristina Amodeo, it’s an immersive introduction to Matisse’s vibrant cut-outs.
Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988 is the companion catalogue to the exhibition under the same title, co-organized by Luis Pérez-Oramas, The Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, MoMA, and Connie Butler, Chief Curator, Hammer Museum, with Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães and Beatriz Rabelo Olivetti, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA. The first comprehensive retrospective to take place in North America, this landmark exhibition is matched by the accompanying publication, containing 13 chapters and 380 plates.
MoMA recently launched its first digital-only publication, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912–1914, edited by Anne Umland and Blair Hartzell, with Scott Gerson. This immersive, interactive study features over 400 high-resolution images and the latest research on 15 groundbreaking Cubist works created by Picasso between 1912 and 1914, and is available as an iPad app through the App Store, or an interactive PDF through MoMAstore.org.
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