Founded in 1929 on the idea of providing the
best modern art museum in the world, the Museum of Modern Art in midtown
Manhattan has been redefined through its recent expansion. VOA's Joseph
Mok reports on the newly-renovated MoMA; Elaine Lu narrates.
Today, MoMA occupies a space more than 58,000 square meters,
almost double its original size and capacity before the expansion project
from 2002 to 2004.
In order to transform MoMA's original buildings and additions into a
unified whole, the museum conducted a worldwide search for an architect to
carry out their vision. Peter Reed is MoMA's Senior Deputy Director of
"You are visiting the newly expanded MOMA. We nearly doubled in size
with this new building by Yoshio Taniguchi. There was something of an
international -- not quite a competition -- but the museum invited 10
architects to make a kind of a proposal. And it was to get an idea how
these architects think. In other words, we weren't asking for a
blueprint-what will you do with MOMA? How might you approach the idea
of designing a modern art museum? Mr. Reed told us. “That list of ten was
then reduced to three finalists. And Yoshio Taniguchi was one of them. In
the end, the trustees selected Taniguchi to design this
Taniguchi takes inspiration from the streets in New York
City for the lobby design. The interior promenade offers expansive views
of the Sculpture Garden and the light-filled atrium, which soars almost 34
meters above street level. The lobby houses the information center and
ticket counters. It also provides access to the museum's theaters,
restaurant, stores, and Sculpture Garden.
Among all the expansion and renovation, Taniguchi considers the Abby
Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden the most distinctive single element
of the museum. He preserved Philip Johnson's original 1953 design, but
enlarged the garden and re-established the southern terrace. Views of
modern sculptures, lush plants, and the reflection pool of the garden are
now available from numerous vantage points throughout the Museum.
The new David and Peggy Rockefeller Building houses the museum's main
collection and temporary exhibition galleries. Spacious galleries for
contemporary art are located on the second floor; while smaller, more
intimately scaled galleries for the main collection are on the levels
above. Expansive, sky-lit galleries for temporary exhibitions are located
on the top floor.
MoMA's collections are divided into six broad categories:
and sculpture · Architecture and design
· Film and media · Photography
· Prints and illustrated books
Established in 1932,
the architecture and design collection is the world's first curatorial
department devoted to this category. The architecture collection documents
buildings through models, drawings, and photographs. The design collection
includes more than 3,000 objects, ranging from appliances, furniture, and
tableware to tools, textiles,
sports cars and even a helicopter. The collection provides an extensive
overview of modernism.
Some of the most renowned paintings and
drawings from the 19th to the 21st century are among MoMA's collections.
Claude Monet's culminating work from his career, the triptych "Water Lilies" covers a
length of 6 meters of the wall.
Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night"
paved the way for expressionist paintings to come.
"Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", is perhaps the single most influential work
in the history of modern art.
Paul Cezanne's watercolor "Foliage"
explores colors and lines, leaving almost an unfinished impression.
Andy Warhol's iconic "Golden Marilyn Monroe", captures the
glamorous yet transient legend of American popular culture.
Hopper's "House by the Railroad" expresses a consistent theme of his
Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" is probably
one of the most familiar American paintings of the 20th
And the list goes on. Familiar as these works may seem to
visitors, curators of MoMA emphasize the idea of revisiting artworks.
"When I can, during the day or during the week to take time out and to
spend time in the galleries," says Reed. “It might be in the painting
gallery. There is a sense of revisiting, which I think is very important
to stress for us as curators and for the visitors. Is it enough to say,
‘Oh, I saw that Jackson Pollack painting. I've seen it. Been there. Done
that? What I like to do is revisit it. Look at it again and again and
again and study it. And sometimes you see things differently. Sometimes,
it's the relationship of how that work is installed in relationship to
another work in the gallery. And I think this is important. This idea of
looking repeatedly at works of art is important."
Intertwining dynamic architectural expression and brilliant exhibitions
throughout the year, today's MoMA is more prepared to receive visitors
around the world for a visit or a revisit.