Museum of Modern Art Library and Archives
11 W 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
Library: (212) 708-9433
Archives: (212) 708-9617
Library: (212) 333-1122
Archives: (212) 408-6385
Library: Sandy Sumano, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Bibliographer for Latin America
Archives: Michelle Elligot, Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections
Hours open to the public (appointments are required)
MoMA Library Manhattan: Wedesday–Friday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
MoMA Library QNS: Monday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Archives: Thursday and Friday, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
History of the Institution
Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world.
The Library of The Museum of Modern Art was founded in the 1930s. From the 1940s to the 1980s, the research materials on Latin American Art collected by the Museum were united under the Latin American Archive at the Library (even though they were comprised primarily of secondary source materials). Eventually, these materials were integrated into the whole collection of research materials offered by the MoMA Library.
In 1982 James Findlay published a comprehensive bibliography of Latin American Art based primarily on MoMA Library holdings, but also including other important sources. In 2000 Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Trustee and member of The International Council, funded the newly created position of Latin American Bibliographer to renew the Museum’s committment to documenting the art of this region. From this position, between 2000 and 2003 Donald Woodward increased the Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino holdings of the Library by 5,000 volumes. Today the Library has over 15,000 volumes of books on Latin American and Caribbean art.
Since 2003, the current Latin American Bibliographer, Taína Caragol, has expanded MoMA’s network of Latin American exchange partners to European institutions that promote and showcase Latin American art. She had also worked to strenghthen MoMA’s ties to the New York-Latino art community through the Survey of Archives of Latino and Latin American art.
The Museum Archives were established in 1989 to preserve and to make accessible historical documents about the Museum and modern and contemporary art.
Scope and Content
The Library’s collection holdings are devoted to literature on modern and contemporary art, dating from the 1880s to the present. The strength of the Museum’s collection lies in its exhibition catalogues and artists’ monographs. The Library contains over 15,000 volumes of literature on Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino art. These volumes are integrated within the overall holdings of the Library. Until 2000 the Latin American holdings of the Library focused primarily on art south of the border and in the Caribbean. The two Latin American bibliographers who have worked at MoMA Library since that time have worked to expand the collection to include U.S. Latino art as well. The Artist and Subject Files are also an important component of the Library, containing information and clippings on numerous established and emerging Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino artists.
The Museum Archives contain materials related to the Museum operations and to artists, critics, or art collectors closely associated with the Museum. The Archives include a administrative and program records; personal papers of former staff; sound and video recordings of Museum-related events; oral histories of former staff, trustees, artists, and others closely associated with the Museum; and archival collections from non-MoMA individuals and institutions. The Museum Archives staff also runs the Museum’s Record Management Program. The Museum Archives do not have a Latin American or U.S. Latino component per se. However, they have important records including personal papers of former Museum staff members and Trustees who established connections with Latin America (e.g. Alfred Barr, René d’Harnoncourt, Elaine Johnson, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller), oral histories, and files documenting exhibitions that included artists of Latin American and Latino background at MoMA.
Overall holdings of archives and research material:
Library: 200,000 volumes or 13,333 linear feet
Note: One linear foot is approximately fifteen volumes.
Archives: 2,500 linear feet
Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art:
Library: 16,500 volumes or 1,100 linear feet are devoted to Latin American materials. Approximately sixty of those 1,100 feet pertain to U.S. Latino artists or to artists who have lived in the United States for a significant part of their careers.
Note: One linear foot is equivalent to approximately fifteen volumes. Latin American and Latino Artist and Subject Files are not counted in this question, although they constitute a great asset of MoMA Library.
Nine linear feet on Latin American art Five linear feet on Latino Art
Note: This number was generated for the purposes of this survey. Documents are distributed throughout the Archives collection.
Inclusive dates of files:
Languages in which records are written:
Library: The materials pertaining to Latin American and Latino art are predominantly in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
Archives: Materials are predominantly in English. A few holdings are also in French, German, and Spanish.
The Museum Archives hold institutional records containing the personal papers of numerous former staff members and trustees of the museum who had strong connections with Latin American art (particularly with Mexico and South America). The Early Museum History records are particularly rich in these materials. Outstanding records include the papers of Alfred H. Barr, Jr., founding director of the Museum. Barr’s papers include his travel diaries to Mexico, Cuba, and other countries. The papers of René d’Harnoncourt also contain two linear feet of documentation related to Latin American art. There is also material pertaining to Latin American art within the papers of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lincoln Kirstein, and Elaine Johnson, all of whom were promoters of Latin American art at the Museum. Some administrative records, among them those of the Department of Circulating Exhibitions and those of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, may contain documentation on exhibitions organized by MoMA that featured Latin American or Latino artists, as well as on international art exhibitions sent by The Museum to travel through Latin America. The Archives will soon have an inventory of the archival records of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art and a venue that has showcased many Latino and Latin American artists.
The Library holds no primary sources.
Newsletters and magazines published in-house:
An annual Library Bulletin existed from 1980 to 1992. Most of the issues listed the research libraries and bookstores in New York with a focus on the visual arts. Issues of the Library Bulletin also list periodicals available between 1980 and 1992 at MoMA Library and at the Film Study Center and the Architecture and Design Study Centers.
In 1982 James Findlay, the first Latin American Bibliographer at MoMA, published the book Modern Latin American Art: A Bibliography (1983), which was based in large part on the Latin American and Latino holdings of MoMA Library.
Recorded interviews and performances:
Library: Six items
Titles of recorded interviews and performances at the Library include Ana Mendieta: Fuego de Tierra (1988), Projeto Portinari (1980), Liliana Porter: Fragments of the Journey (1993), The Latin American Spirit: Conceptual Video Program(1995), Soto: A New Vision of the Art (1970) and Los Four: Murals of Aztlán (2004). These materials exist in Umatix, video cassette, and DVD format.
Archives: Seventeen items
The Museum Archives have numerous sound recordings related to Latin American and Latino art. Some outstanding items include the acoustic guide to the exhibition Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century (1993), the symposium “Latin American Architecture 1920-1960: Contemporary Reflections” (2002), a gallery talk with Liliana Porter (1993), an interview with Roberto Burle Marx (1991), and an interview with Cesar Pelli (1993). The Archives also have the sound recordings of the Conversations with Contemporary Artists programs in which Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco, Vik Muniz, and Arturo Herrera have participated.
Slides and photographs:
Many artist files at the Library contain slides, photographs, and transparencies documenting the artists’ work.
The Museum Archives hold photographs documenting the work of Latin American and U.S. Latino artists featured in MoMA exhibitions. It is necessary to know the name of the exhibition in order to search for the corresponding images.
Art objects and artifacts available for research:
Library: 180 items
The MoMA Library has a growing collection of approximately 180 artist books produced by Latin American and Latino artists, including a collection of some twenty books published by Ediciones Vigía in Matanzas, Cuba. Other artist books include Grabados y Poesías (1950) by Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Tres Poemas (1961) by Leandro Katz, Nearer (1974) by Anna Bella Geiger, Poesías (1980) by León Ferrari, Hijueputa by Gilles Charalambo (1980), House of the Thirsty (1983) by Eugenio Dittborn, and El libro dibujado: el dibujo librado (1995) by Antonio Martorell.
In addition, Latin American and Latino artworks in the collections of the Print and Illustrated Books Department and the Departments of Drawings, Photography, and Film and Media, are accessible at The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Print Room, the Drawing Study Center, The Erna and Victor Hasselblad Photography Study Center, The Celeste Bartos Film Study Center, the Circulating Film and Video Library, and the Film Stills Archive. For more information, please consult the Research and Learning page on the MoMA Web site.
Exhibition catalogues published in-house that include work by Latino artists:
Library: Over thirty items
Through its history, MoMA has published over thirty catalogues and books that include the work of Latin American and Latino artists. Some titles include Diego Rivera (1931), Portinari of Brazil (1940), The Latin American Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (1943), Brazil Builds: Architecture New & Old (1943), Latin American Architecture since 1945 (1955), Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century (1993), Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1997), and Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art in the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde (2004). At least fifteen catalogues published by MoMA include the work of U.S. Latino artists or Latin American artists who have worked in the United States. Some of these titles include Thinking Print: Books and Billboards 1980–95 (1996), The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect (1999), Modern Art Despite Modernism (2000), Modern Contemporary: Modern Art since 1980 at MoMA (2000), Tempo (2002), Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art (2004), and Latin American and Caribbean Art: MoMA at El Museo (2004).
Exhibition catalogues, books, and periodicals related to Latino art:
Library: Latin American 16,500 items
U.S. Latino 1,320 items
The number of U.S. Latino holdings was generated for the purpose of this survey. U.S. Latino materials are not classified apart from general Library collection. This number does not include the art library of pioneer historian of modern Latin American art, Stanton Loomis Catlin, which MoMA Library acquired in the Summer of 2006 and is currently processing.
The Latin American and Latino holdings at the Library can be searched on the Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art Bibliography online, as well as through the library’s general catalogue DADABASE.
Some titles of Latin American and Latino periodicals accessible at MoMA Library include: Arquitecto, Arte al Día, Arte en Colombia, Arte en Cuba, ArtEs en Santo Domingo, Arte Informa, Art Nexus, Curare, Fisura, Luna Córnea, México en el Arte, Poliester: pintura y no pintura, Ramona, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Southward Art, and Velocidad Crítica.
Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
The Library has a wealth of ephemera (e.g. clippings, invitations, short catalogues, and artist bios) classified under its artist files. Some Latino and Latin American artists documented include: Manuel Acevedo, Maria Brito Avellana, Judy Baca, Diógenes Ballester, José Bedia, Tania Bruguera, Rimer Cardillo, Enrique Chagoya, Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Papo Colo, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Jaime Davidovich, Juan Downy, Marisol Escobar, Víctor Estrada, Rafael Ferrer, Coco Fusco, Harry Gamboa, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Luis Guispert, Raúl Guerrero, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Félix González-Torres, Gronk, Enrique Guzmán, Anaida Hernández, Esther Hernández, Miriam Hernández, Ricardo Hernández, Alfredo Jaar, Warren James, Luis Jiménez, Yolanda López, Miguel Luciano, Adál Maldonado, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa Bains, Ralph Montañez Ortiz, Malaquías Montoya, José Morales, Vik Muñiz, Carlos Osorio, Pepón Osorio, Liliana Porter, Lina Puerta, Ernesto Pujol, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Frank Romero, Gloria Rodríguez, Fernando Salicrup, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Andrés Serrano, Rafael Trelles, Nitza Tufiño, Rafael Tufiño, Juana Valdés, Patsy Valdéz, and Jorge Zeno. MoMA Library archives all unsolicited materials sent by artists and galleries in its artist files.
The MoMA Library also has an invaluable collection of subject files documenting particular art events and institutions, such as the defunct Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, the Bienal de São Paulo, the Bienal de Grabado Latinoamericano y del Caribe in San Juan, and the Bienal Iberoamericana de Pintura Coltejer, among many others.
In addition, the Library has the archives generated by the Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D), an artists’ collective conceived by Lucy Lippard in 1979 and active through 1988. Its archive was organized by Barbara Moore and Mimi Smith and was donated to the Library in 1989. PAD/D’s stated goal was, “To provide artists with an organized relationship to society, to demonstrate the political effectiveness of image making, and to provide a framework within which progressive artists can discuss and develop alternatives to the mainstream art system.”
This archive focuses on the years 1979–90, with some material dating from the early 1960s. The collection is composed of two sections: files and posters. Files are organized by names of persons, groups, and exhibition spaces, as well as by topics and PAD/D administrative categories. The files are catalogued individually in DADABASE. Some Latin American and Latino materials include files on Luis Cruz Azaceta, Luis Camnitzer, Josely Carvalho, Papo Colo, Elizam Escobar, Antonio Frasconi, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Félix González Torres and on Latino organizations such as the Caribbean Cultural Center, INTAR, El Museo del Barrio, La Raza, and The Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art. Some political posters produced or archived by PAD/D pertain to Latin America.
The Latin American, U.S. Latino and Caribbean holdings at the Library can be searched through Latin American Bibliography , as well as through the Library’s general catalogue DADABASE. Artist files and subject files, as well as materials in the Museum Archives and in the Study Centers, are only available through DADABASE.
Visits to conduct research at both the MoMA Library and the Museum Archives are by appointment only. The Library reading room in Queens has a maximum capacity of eight researchers. The Archives can accommodate up to four researchers. In November of 2006 the Library and Archives will also have offices and space for researchers in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building at MoMA.
Some materials in the Museum Archives may be confidential.
The Museum of Modern Art Library is one of the best and most comprehensive research centers for the study of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. The strength of the collection resides in its important Library holdings, which include rare books, scholarly publications and catalogues, and periodicals on the art of this region. The artist files and subject files also contain a unique collection of ephemera and hard-to-find documents.
The Museum Archives are also a great source for research on this subject due to MoMA’s close ties with the art of Latin America since the Museum’s inception in 1929.
Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations
MoMA has worked in collaboration with the Americas Society, originally called the Center for Inter-American Relations.
The Museum Library has an exchange partnership program with numerous museums and cultural institutions dealing with Latin American art. These include Colección Cisneros (Venezuela), Banco Itaú Cultural (Brazil), Banco de la República and Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango (Colombia), Fundación Espigas and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Argentina), TeorÉtica (Costa Rica), Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (Spain), and Daros Latin America (Switzerland), among others.
As part of the METRO-MoMA Survey of Archives of Latino Art, MoMA’s Latin American Bibliographer has been inventorying the primary and secondary sources documenting Latino art at institutions including The Americas Society, Art in General, The Bronx Council on the Arts, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the Cuban Art Space, the Dominican Studies Institute, the Emilio Sánchez Foundation, Exit Art, the Félix González Foundation, the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics (at NYU), the Latin American Video Archives, the Latino/Hispanic Archive at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, En Foco, Lehman Gallery, Longwood Art Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Puerto Rico and the American Dream, and El Taller Boricua. Important scholars of Latino and Latin American art, among them Susana Torruella-Leval, Edward Sullivan, and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, are part of the Survey’s Advisory Committee. Liza Kirwin, Curator of Manuscripts at the Archives of American Art and coordinator of the Archivos Virtuales of Latino and Latin American Art, is also part of the Survey’s Advisory Committee.
Additional notes or comments:
The Museum Library accepts and catalogues unsolicited books, catalogues, and artist files materials from emerging and established artists. Materials can be sent to the following address:
Latin American Bibliographer
Museum of Modern Art Library
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019