As an institution dedicated to ever-changing art forms, MoMA consistently attracts direct engagement. The MoMA Library's current exhibition documents seven decades of interventions by artists, the general public, and even MoMA staff, ranging from manifestos and conceptual gestures to protests and performances. “Messing” connotes the variety of these actions, which question, play with, provoke, subvert, and comment on the paradox of institutionalizing radical art.
The MoMA Library recently acquired the Steven Leiber collection of artists' generated ephemera featured in the 2001 exhibition, and corresponding exhibition catalog, Extra Art: A Survey of Artists’ Ephemera, 1960 – 1999. The scope of the collection covers a broad span of art movements including Fluxus, Arte Povera, conceptual art, visual poetry, minimalism, pop art, and more, with the physical contents being similarly widely varied. Steven Leiber, scholar and curator of the collection, applied th
The MoMA Library's current exhibition highlights the art of Ray Johnson, which was rooted in his constant practice of correspondence. He dispersed a copious amount of collages and other printed matter through the mail to friends and colleagues. The Museum of Modern Art Library received materials in the mail from Ray Johnson from the 1950s until his death in 1995. This exhibition focuses on Johnson’s early printed materials, especially his promotional flyers for his work as a graphic designer and illustrator.
The MoMA Library recently acquired and made available a collection of materials produced by El Techo de la Ballena, an artistic and literary collective that was active from 1961 to 1969 in Venezuela. El Techo de la Ballena, which translates to The Roof of the Whale, was an organized artistic and literary group that generated material with the goal of challenging social values during a time of political unrest in Venezuela during the 1960s.
The MoMA Library's current exhibition celebrates the innovative mail artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo, bringing together his mail art, visual poetry, performative actions, and expanded publications to shed light on this little-known artist and his role in Argentine experimentalism. Beginning in the 1960s, from his quiet hometown of La Plata, Vigo and fellow local artists developed an extensive network of contacts in Latin America and Europe, making the city a hub of the international mail art network.
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.