While New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers a spotlight for the contemporary art world, ever since the institution began holding exhibitions in 1929, its slow built up a history of genre- and era-defining exhibitions. Thanks to a multi-year project by the museum’s curatorial staff, the photographic record of the museum’s exhibitions has been turned into an online archive, a priceless archive and reference point, especially for architecture and design.
From early looks at the International Style and the Bauhaus to showcases of furniture and interiors that gave designers such as Charles Eames an early spotlight, MoMA’s commitment to supporting and displaying architecture and design has been critical to the modernism movement. Just a decade after MoMA opened in 1929 with a show featuring the work of Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, and Van Gogh, the museum was also showing cutting-edge work from the Bauhaus as well as then-curator Philip Johnson’s influential Machine Art exhibition (he was the first museum curator focused solely on displaying architecture).
Ever since, MoMA has been a leading advocate valued by architects and designers. When rumors floated aroundearlier this year suggesting that separate architecture and design galleries weren’t going to be included as part of the current remodel, architecture critics, writers, and fans protested the loss of this very important space.
To celebrate the release of this new public archive, Curbed asked MoMA for a selection of images from some early and influential shows throughout the museum’s storied history.