In Our Time: The Museum of Modern Art

From the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, 1907

What do the superstars of modern art - van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock, Warhol - have in common with the Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle and an Apple iPod? All share the stage at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  At MoMA, the two big questions are: What makes it modern?  And, what makes it art?  MoMA’s experts, along with David Rockefeller (son of MoMA founder Abby Aldrich Rockefeller) discuss the museum’s development and its peerless collection of modern art.

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Girl before a Mirror
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Girl before a Mirror

Pablo Picasso, 1932; oil on canvas

Is it possible to understand modern art without recognizing the extraordinary achievements of Picasso? MoMA’s collection traces Picasso’s 70 year career.


Eames Chaise Longue
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Eames Chaise Longue

1948; hard rubber foam, plastic, wood, metal

What says 1950s suburbia better than a lounge chair?Charles and Ray Eames (husband/wife) ran a studio that was really about experimentation. "Fiberglass, plywood, spun aluminum, all of these things that were byproducts of the war effort. They really were committed to this notion of the low-cost, democratic household, that good design was accessible to all." Terence Riley, Chief Curator, Architecture & Design


A Total Work of ArtView larger

A Total Work of Art

MoMA is a soaring, light-filled museum, home to six floors of art, endless views to the surrounding city, and the serene Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, which was designed by Philip Johnson as a room without a ceiling.


The AtriumView larger

The Atrium

When you come in the museum, you encounter a soaring atrium that is sky lit and that is a huge surprise, because spaces of this scale rarely can be found in New York. Anchoring the atrium in this photograph is Barnett Newman’s staggering Broken Obelisk.


David Rockefeller with progression of busts by MatisseView larger

David Rockefeller with progression of busts by Matisse

"MoMA has been part of my life from the very beginning because as a young boy, I would sit in on some of the discussions between the three ladies who started it, one of them being my mother." David Rockefeller, Honorary Chairman


Vincent Black Shadow
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Vincent Black Shadow

1949, Vincent & Irving

"Up until the Black Shadow, motorcycles were really bicycles that had been motorized," says director Glenn Lowry. "Vincent Black Shadow no longer has anything to do with a bicycle. It’s now about a highly refined machine for speed."


One: Number 31View larger

One: Number 31

Jackson Pollock, 1950; oil and enamel paint on canvas

Bursting onto the scene in the ‘50s, Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists believe that the act of painting itself should result in powerful emotion on the canvas.


An artist speaks with students in the galleriesView larger

An artist speaks with students in the galleries

"High school students are very excited by an artist's ability to turn the world upside-down or inside out. As a teenager, that’s part of what you’re struggling with. If you think about it, high school students, age 17, a young artist bursting onto the art scene at the age of 20, they’re actually almost peers. They question the world around them. And they do look at the world differently than the rest of us." Deborah Schwartz, Deputy Director, Education


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