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.
Posts tagged ‘Department of Painting and Sculpture’
How does an artist approach the grand tradition of history painting in the era of late capitalism, a time marked not by great heroes and legendary victories but by systemic inequity and unrelenting violence? With Flying Carpet with Magic Mirrors for a Distorted Nation, part of a group of three “flying carpet” paintings that was the centerpiece of his 2013 exhibition From a Late Western Impaerium, Lari Pittman considers the heavy psychological toll of life under a declining empire.
In this column I have often discussed the efforts made by the Department of Painting and Sculpture to circulate works in our collection galleries as frequently as we can manage, thereby showing the broadest possible range of our extensive holdings. All of our works are historically significant in their own way; still, we do recognize that there are dedicated audiences for certain landmark acquisitions made by the Museum, and so there are a few works that remain on view indefinitely. Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso, The Starry Night (1889) by Vincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory (1931) certainly all fall into this category.
On one of my recent early-morning checks of the fifth-floor collection galleries—a daily duty of the curatorial staff, to spot any oddities—an elusive, visceral feeling gave me pause. It took me a moment to recognize that it was prompted by the wall color, which, as I moved from the European Expressionist gallery to the adjacent Matisse room, had changed from a light grey to what appeared to be a bright white. This color change is subtle enough to likely go unnoticed by many visitors, but deserves a brief moment of attention.
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