The Museum of Modern Art (“MOMA”) is one of the world's leading museum's dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Indeed, it is expressly dedicated to being “the foremost museum of modern art in the world.”
In addition to having a large collection and impressive buildings in which to display that art, MOMA has a long history of championing the abstract movement. In the mid-20th century when abstraction dominated the art establishment, MOMA was its spiritual headquarters and was a magnet for the leading artists of that era.
The idea for MOMA is attributed to three ladies who were wealthy patrons of the arts – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lilie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. Their plan was to establish a museum dedicated exclusively to modern art. MOMA opened in November 1929, in the Hecksher Building at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan.
Over the next decade, MOMA moved three times, each time to larger quarters. Mrs. Rockefeller's husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr., was opposed to the project and did not like modern art so funding at first had to come from other sources. However, he eventually relented and provided some funding. Their sons, Nelson and David, subsequently were involved in the leadership of MOMA .
In 1939, MOMA moved to its present site on West 53rd street near Fifth Avenue. The building was designed in the International style by Phillip Goodwin. It was later modified by Phillip Johnson, who designed the Abby Aldrich Sculpture Garden.
In 2002, construction began on a major expansion and renovation under Yoshio Toniguchi. It required closing the Manhattan location for two years. Among other things, the renovation doubled the amount of gallery space.
MOMA now consists of three buildings centered around the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. To the south is the original building. To the east is the Lewis B and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Center, which included the MOMA library. To the west is the David and Peggy Rockefeller Building, which contains most of the exhibit space on six floors. There is some 125000 square feet of exhibit space.
The museum's original collection consisted of eight prints and one drawing. It now has some 200,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photos. It also has an extensive collection of films and film stills.
MOMA remains dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Despite the recent resurgence of more traditional realist work, the collection focuses primarily on abstraction.
The museum displays its collection through a series of rotating exhibits and temporary exhibits. In addition, MOMA has film presentations, classes and activities. It also has restaurants.
MOMA is affiliated with MOMA PS 1, which is dedicated to experimental contemporary art. It is located across the East River in Long Island City, Queens New York.
For more information about visiting MOMA, see the MOMA website.
Also in New York City:
Metropolitan Museum profile
Cooper Hewitt Museum
Frick Collection profile
Museum of Art and Design
Morgan Library and Museum
New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Whitney Museum of American Art
Above: The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
Below: The David and Peggy Rockefller Building.
The permanent collection includes works by Jackson Pollock (above); Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Exhibition Review: The Long Run
Exhibition Review: Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil"
Exhibition Review: Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait
Exhibition Review: Max Ernst Beyond Painting
Exhibition Review: Robert Rauschenburg Among Friends
Exhibition Review: Making Space: Women Artists and Post-War Abstraction
Places to see art - - New York City - - Museum of Modern Art