Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection, a sweeping reinstallation of MoMA’s Contemporary Galleries, is a markedly cross-medium selection of works from the Museum’s collection. Created in the past three decades by more than 30 international artists, the works in the exhibition span a range of approaches that respond to the political, social, and cultural flux of our time.
Situated prominently in one of the final galleries, and on view at MoMA for the first time, Mark Bradford’s set of untitled 2012 etchings leave an unexpected mark—both literally and figuratively.
Emily Cushman, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints
Installation view of Jean Dubuffet: Soul of the Underground, The Museum of Modern Art, October 18, 2014–April 5, 2015. Photograph by John Wronn
In July of 1963 the French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) declared of his radical lithographs, “Sometimes I took imprints of every chance element that might even suggest something: the ground, walls, stones, old suitcases, any or every sort of object—I even went so far as to do them from the naked skin of a friend’s back—and sometimes I obtained astonishing images…that I had sprinkled with tiny elements such as wires, crumbs, bits of torn paper, and all sorts of debris….”
Within the arsenal of unusual and experimental techniques on clamorous display in Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, the artist’s prints are notable for their sly celebration of the halftone dot pattern, the tonal register that has enabled images to be reproduced in newspaper photographs, magazine ads, consumer packaging, etc. since the late 19th century.
Lotte Johnson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints
Paul Gauguin. Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit (recto). c. 1900. Oil transfer drawing. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (by exchange), Vincent d’Aquila and Harry Soviak Bequest Fund (by exchange), and acquired through the generosity of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Endowment for Prints, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mary M. Spencer, and Stephen Dull, 2014
One of the most extraordinary works in the current exhibition Gauguin: Metamorphoses is Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit (c. 1900), which was acquired for MoMA’s collection just weeks before the exhibition opened. Among the many exceptionally innovative works on paper that are the focus of the exhibition, this exciting new acquisition stands out for its monumental scale and magisterial presence.
Jorinde Voigt. 3 Views GREEN. Games of Love; “Autumn flowers”, “Face to face”; from the album “Gardens of Pleasure,” China 17th century. Countdown/ Countup in Sek.; Himmelsrichtung N-S; Windrichtung/ Windstärke; Deklination Rotationsrichtung/ Umdrehungen pro Tag. 2011. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Prints and Illustrated Books Fund
One might be surprised to learn that the source material for Jorinde Voigt’s 2011 Gardens of Pleasure—a series of five lithographs with ink additions published by Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition—is in fact 17th-century Chinese erotic art.
Hannah Kim, Marketing and Book Development Coordinator, Department of Publications
The Prints of Paul Klee
In 1947, The Museum of Modern Art published a deluxe portfolio of The Prints of Paul Klee, a luxurious green ribbon-bound box encasing 40 individual prints of Paul Klee’s etchings and lithographs, and a booklet by James Thrall Soby, then Chairman of the Museum’s Department of Painting and Sculpture.
Door, window, table, basket, mirror, rug. These six simple elements—found in many a living room and throughout the glossy pages of any home furnishing catalogue—are the components of a series that Richard Artschwager began creating in 1974.
Christina Costello, Louise Bourgeois Print Cataloguer, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books
Jeri Moxley, Manager, Collection and Exhibition Technologies
A finished diagram on the site with notes about underlying data
MoMA’s recently launched website, Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, seems to effortlessly reveal Bourgeois’s creative process. You might not suspect that a highly organized sea of intricate data lives behind that elegant design.
The Museum of Modern Art has launched Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, a major website documenting Bourgeois’s extensive work in the printmaking medium. This site offers a range of innovative, interactive approaches to the artist’s work, including the ability to examine her creative process, and to place her prints and illustrated books within the broader context of her sculpture and drawings. When discussing the various mediums, Bourgeois said: “There is no rivalry…they say the same things in different ways.” All of these works explore her fundamental themes of loneliness, anxiety, fear, jealousy, anger, and pain.
In 1990, Bourgeois decided to donate a full archive of her printed work to MoMA. This includes all completed compositions, as well as the many states and variations leading up to them. Numbering some 3,500 sheets, this unique collection makes it possible to reconstruct the artist’s step-by-step working methods. The website presents, diagrammatically, all the stages of Bourgeois’s evolving compositions and reveals the myriad ways in which she altered shapes, added tiny scratched lines, or experimented with vivid color, all in pursuit of a final vision. In addition, individual works can be examined at close range through a “Zoom” feature—particularly useful for studying prints—or compared and contrasted with a pioneering “Compare Works” mode.
The Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books website is the work of an integrated team of contributors, including MoMA’s curatorial, digital media, and collection and exhibition technologies staffs, as well as independent web designers and programmers and the staff of the Louise Bourgeois Studio. My own involvement with Bourgeois began when we met in 1976. I have been a committed scholar of her work ever since, and a friend until her death in 2010. The launch of what will be the definitive scholarly resource on Bourgeois’s prints—aimed also at the general art public—is a source of great pride and a sense of accomplishment for me, as well as for the entire Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA.
Please visit MoMA.org/bourgeoisprints to learn more about Louise Bourgeois’s prints and illustrated books, and her creative process.
If you are interested in reproducing images from The Museum of Modern Art web site, please visit the Image Permissions page (www.moma.org/permissions). For additional information about using content from MoMA.org, please visit About this Site (www.moma.org/site).