November is an important month for the world of Contemporary Art. Ninety years ago, between the cold weather and the economic uncertainty caused by the crash of 29, the Museum of Modern known worldwide as the MoMA, was born in six rooms on the 12th floor of the Heckscher building on the Upper East Side in New York.
On November 7th of that year, the most influential cultural center in the world opened its doors, thanks to three women of New York’s upper class: Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan and Abby Aldricht Rockefeller. Its main objective was to make modern art more important, but its location in a rich neighborhood initially hindered accessibility to young artists of the time, as well as to the middle and lower classes. Even the early public was reluctant to the abstract art on display, as they did not follow the patterns of what was considered art at the time.
Faced with this situation, the founders had to act as ambassadors of their creation and seek investors who would generate a reshaping of the cultural trend. In this way, the efforts were successful and during the following ten years, MoMA changed its headquarters three times to larger spaces, until it moved in 1939 to the building where it still resides today.
Within its walls are the works of great artists such as Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dalí or Pablo Picasso among many others; and year after year, the creations of the most representative contemporary artists of the moment are exhibited in the different rooms, embracing various disciplines, such as drawing, painting, photography or video.
Donald Judd. Untitled. 1991. Enameled aluminum, 59″ × 24′ 7 1/4″ × 65″ (150 × 750 × 165 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bequest of Richard S. Zeisler and gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (both by exchange) and gift of Kathy Fuld, Agnes Gund, Patricia Cisneros, Doris Fisher, Mimi Haas, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Emily Spiegel. © 2019 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society
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Another of its best-known spaces is the restaurant “The Modern”, as well as the garden of sculptures and its large collection of films, being the first museum in the United States to initiate this practice.
Today, it receives almost three million visitors a year from all over the world. This need for space has led architects Liz Diller and Ricardo Scofidio to enlarge the museum once again by adding a building. This reform has brought with it a new image of MoMA itself, leaving aside its exact chronological exhibition order to expose the visitor to a set of mixed works, creating a dialogue between them, with a concrete meaning that might attract newer generations.
Director Glenn D. Lowry, who tops ArtReview magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the art world, said the novelty doesn’t end here and that MoMA will not stop evolving. A broader concept of the center that will remain under the attentive eye of all art lovers and will surely remain part of history.
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