The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA ) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
MoMA has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world. MoMA’s collection offers an overview of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, and electronic media.
The MoMA Library includes approximately 300,000 books and exhibition catalogs, over 1,000 periodical titles, and over 40,000 files of ephemera about individual artists and groups. The archives holds primary source material related to the history of modern and contemporary art.
Founded in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in midtown Manhattan was the first museum devoted to the modern era. Today MoMA’s rich and varied collection offers a panoramic overview of modern and contemporary art, from the innovative European painting and sculpture of the 1880s to today’s film, design, and performance art. From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, the collection has grown to include over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects; approximately 22,000 films and four million film stills; and, in its Library and Archives, over 300,000 books, artist books, and periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 70,000 artists. Collection highlights include Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, along with more recent works by Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Murray, Cindy Sherman, and many others.
The Museum presents an active schedule of modern and contemporary art exhibitions, over 1,000 film screenings a year, and a wide range of educational programming, from artist talks to family workshops. Architect Yoshio Taniguchi’s new MoMA building opened in 2004, nearly doubling the space for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, and enlarging the beloved Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Today, the Museum welcomes approximately 3 million visitors every year and has more than 130,000 members.
The Museum is affiliated with MoMA PS1, one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art centers in the U.S. Located in Queens, NY, MoMA PS1 presents over 50 exhibitions each year, including artists’ retrospectives and site-specific installations, and a full schedule of music and performance programming.
Considered by many to have the best collection of modern Western masterpieces in the world, MoMA’s holdings include more than 150,000 individual pieces in addition to approximately 22,000 films and 4 million film stills. (Access to the collection of film stills ended in 2002, and the collection is mothballed in a vault in Hamlin, Pennsylvania.
MoMA developed a world-renowned art photography collection first under Edward Steichen and then under Steichen’s hand-picked successor John Szarkowski, which included photos by Todd Webb. The department was founded by Beaumont Newhall in 1940. Under Szarkowski, it focused on a more traditionally modernist approach to the medium, one that emphasized documentary images and orthodox darkroom techniques.
The MoMA library is located in Midtown Manhattan, with offsite storage in Long Island City, Queens. The non-circulating collection documents modern and contemporary art including painting, sculpture, prints, photography, film, performance, and architecture from 1880–present. The collection includes 300,000 books, 1,000 periodicals, and 40,000 files about artists and artistic groups. There are over 10,000 artist books in the collection. The libraries are open by appointment to all researchers. The library’s catalogue is called “Dadabase”. Dadabase includes records for all of the material in the library, including books, artist books, exhibition catalogue, special collections materials, and electronic resources.
MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design was founded in 1932 as the first museum department in the world dedicated to the intersection of architecture and design. The department’s first director was Philip Johnson who served as curator between 1932–34 and 1946–54.
The collection consists of 28,000 works including architectural models, drawings and photographs. One of the highlights of the collection is the Mies van der Rohe Archive. It also includes works from such legendary architects and designers as Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul László, the Eameses, Isamu Noguchi, and George Nelson. The design collection contains many industrial and manufactured pieces, ranging from a self-aligning ball bearing to an entire Bell 47D1 helicopter.