MoMA
Posts tagged ‘MoMA Library and Archives’
April 21, 2011  |  Library and Archives
Bookeye for a Fly-By

March 30, 2011  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Fluxus
Off the Shelf: Vintage Fluxus

This is the first post in the new series Off the Shelf, which explores unique MoMA publications from the Museum Archives.

From left: Front Cover: Yoko Ono. Montage incorporating photographic images of Rolf Jährling, Iain Macmillan, Nancy Mee, and Nori Sato. 1988. © 1988 by Yoko Ono. Back Cover: Milan Knizak. Drawing for catalogue cover. 1988. © 1988 by Milan Knizak.

Endpapers: Ben Vautier. Assholes Wallpaper. c. 1974.

During our intern walkthrough of the exhibition Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960, we learned about Yoko Ono and George Maciunas‘s Fluxus Wallpaper</a>, which is displayed along the third-floor hallway at the entrance to Staging Action and Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography.

March 7, 2011  |  Library and Archives, Viewpoints
Smelling the Books

Rachael Morrison. Photograph by Michael Schmelling

Having a job as Senior Library Assistant at The Museum of Modern Art Library has been a big influence on my artistic practice. I use the library for research and inspiration, and as a site of investigation. In early 2010, I began the performance “Smelling the Books“, which consists of me smelling every book in the MoMA Library collection. This performance was recently highlighted in New York Magazine as one of the many reasons to love New York.

The Ad Reinhardt You Never Knew

Ad Reinhardt. Walt Nettie Walt Nettie Walt Nettie Merry Xmas Happy New Year 55! Best Wishes. Postcard, 1954. Courtesy Anna Reinhardt.

At the MoMA Library we recently unearthed an intriguing box of ephemera by artist Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967). The material was gifted to the Library by Walter and Nettie Wittman, who were friends of the artist. The letters, photographs, tear sheets, and some original commercial illustrations form a vignette of the artist’s professional and personal life, glimpsed from the perspective of Mr. Wittman, a lawyer residing in New Jersey.

Reinhardt and Walter Wittman met as students at Columbia University. We get a taste of their initial friendship with a 1931 notebook page documenting Reinhardt’s translation efforts in freshman German class (“In paradise what have I to do win?”)

April 1, 2010  |  Film
Pen Pals: Iris Barry and Joseph Cornell

Though I’m still a believer, I’m a bit too old to send a want list to Santa each year. But if I did, at the top of that list would be a Joseph Cornell box. Any box would do. Even one of the later collages from the 1960s would be just fine by me. But since Santa bestows linens and cooking utensils upon me these days, I keep my nose pressed against the glass on the Cornell boxes on exhibition at MoMA. (No, not really!)

Left: Joseph Cornell in his backyard in Flushing, New York, 1969. Right: Joseph Cornell’s home at 3708 Utopia Parkway, 1976

So imagine my excitement in 1995 when The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation donated a comprehensive gift of film materials made and collected by Joseph Cornell to MoMA’s Department of Film. In this collection are films made by Société Lumière, Georges Méliès, and Pathé Frères. These early film pioneers imbued their inventive cinematic efforts with magic, whimsy, fairies, and other-worldly adventures. Cornell—a sometimes mysterious figure in the New York art world who is best known for his collages, box constructions, and experimental films—was drawn to the escape that these enchanting moments of cinematic exploration afforded him while he remained firmly rooted to the middle-class landscape of Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens. If film-going was a treasured diversion for Cornell—who was also a frequent visitor to the Museum’s Library, Archives, and galleries and who engaged in lively, revealing, and surprisingly humorous correspondence with Museum personnel—then just imagine his delight in corresponding with Iris Barry, the first curator of the MoMA Film Library and one of the most influential personalities in the world of film as art.