As the new summer intern at the MoMA library, I’m still getting used to the idea of being around so many unique and aesthetically pleasing books. Going into the stacks truly feels like being a kid in a candy store, and the look of the books lined organized and lined up on the shelves presents something to aspire to, as my own bookshelf has always suffered from a case of far too many books and not enough space. Today I began to explore the collection some more—a task that would no doubt take years to complete—and found one of many gems.
Every day at the library reference desk I look at a poster version of this chart. Ever since Alfred Barr composed it for the catalog cover of the 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art, the chart has been scrutinized, criticized, historicized, revised, and deliciously parodied.
More than four years ago, at the end of 2008, MoMA and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center officially completed their 10-year affiliation process. At that time, The Museum of Modern Art Archives received custody of the organizational records, curatorial documents, exhibition paraphernalia, and other materials of historical importance saved by the institution over four decades of groundbreaking programming. And MoMA PS1 saved a lot.
As the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) intern for 2012, I am fortunate to be spending time at all three New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) libraries. The Frick Art Reference Library and those of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) share many attributes. One of these is the important role that collecting expeditions played in increasing the holdings of each institution. Interestingly, in the early twentieth century these libraries supported major expeditions that were led by women. These bold travelers came from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic classes and were ahead of their time.
As we were brainstorming a name for our Library exhibition of contemporary experimental magazines, Millennium Magazines stuck because of its concise alliteration. The name also specifically isolates this recent period of time - post-Y2K - where these publications have been flourishing despite constant conversations about the end of print culture. Working in a library, this is a particularly hot topic as we think about the future and how best to accommodate new modes of publishing. The exhibition, now on view at MoMA in the Lewis B. Cullman Education building at 4 W 54th St., aims to complicate this assumption that print is dead.