The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, has been influential in developing and collecting modernist art. Its collection of more than 150,000 pieces includes paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, prints, books, works of architecture and design, films, and electronic media.
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Key Features of the Museum of Modern Art
From its early days of exhibiting paintings by Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Georges Seurat, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC has been committed to sharing thought-provoking and contemporary pieces as well as celebrating creativity. More than 25,000 of the artists it features have work on its website for viewers to enjoy.
Art aficionados will recognize works here from those original artists, as well as Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Jasper Johns, Frida Kahlo, Roy Lichtenstein, René Magritte, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Henri Rousseau, Andy Warhol, and Andrew Wyeth.
Its film collection encompasses more than 25,000 titles including international works. It owns prints of well-known feature-length films such as Vertigo and Citizen Kane along with less traditional pieces such as Warhol’s eight-hour Empire and Chris Cunningham’s music video for Björk’s “All Is Full of Love.”
Its Department of Architecture and Design features works from legends such as Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as industrial and manufacturing pieces, such as a Bell 47D1 helicopter.
History of New York’s Museum of Modern Art
1929: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., and friends rent space at 730 Fifth Ave. devoted exclusively to European modernist art. It will move several times over the next 10 years.
1935: The museum’s exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s 66 oils, 50 drawings and excerpts from his letters is a major public success.
1939: The Museum of Modern Art moves to its present address on West 53rd Street, a building designed by modernist architects Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives an opening address via radio.
1958: A workman is killed in a fire that starts while workers smoke near paint cans, sawdust and a canvas drop cloth while installing air conditioning. Visitors and other employees safely evacuate to the roof and jump to an adjoining townhouse roof. The blaze destroys an 18-foot-long Water Lilies painting by Monet. The museum acquires another Monet soon afterward.
1983: The museum more than doubles its gallery and adds an auditorium, two restaurants and a bookstore.
1997: The museum undergoes a renovation and expansion that nearly doubles the space for programs and exhibitions.
2014: New renovations as part of a $450 million expansion begin that include reconfigured galleries and two lounges facing the sculpture garden named after Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
Location & Tourism
The Museum of Modern Art is located at 11 W. 53rd St. in Manhattan. It is open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Fridays. Regular admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors age 65 and older, $14 for full-time students with ID, and free for children 16 and younger. The museum is free for all visitors each Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Interesting Facts About the Museum of Modern Art
- The museum’s Department of Architecture and Design in 2012 acquired a selection of 14 video games, including Pac-Man, Tetris, Myst, Portal, and The Sims.
- Screenings from MoMa’s film archives tend to celebrate a film’s anniversary, a filmmaker (such as Alfred Hitchcock) or a theme. One “Hot and Humid” summer movie program highlighted 24 films about “the perils and excitement” of the season, including Jaws (1975), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), Rashomon (1950) and Taxi Driver (1976).
- MoMA’s library has a non-circulating collection open to researchers that documents modern and contemporary art through thousands of books, periodicals and other files. Its catalogue is called the “Dadabase,” a pun on the European avant-garde movement of the early 20th century.
Directions to Belluck & Fox from the Museum of Modern Art
Belluck & Fox’s NYC law office is located in Midtown at 546 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York NY 10036. In good weather, you can walk to our office from the museum in 10 minutes or so by heading southeast on West 53rd Street and turning right onto Fifth Avenue. By car, head southeast on West 54th Street (a one-way street in the proper direction) and turn right onto Fifth Avenue. The M1, M2, M5 and Q32 buses also travel south along Fifth Avenue from West 53rd Street to our office.
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