One of the most comprehensive and panoramic views into modern art
In the late 1920s, three progressive and influential patrons of the arts, Miss Lillie P. Bliss, Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., perceived a need to challenge the conservative policies of traditional museums and to establish an institution devoted exclusively to modern art. They, along with additional original trustees A. Conger Goodyear, Paul Sachs, Frank Crowninshield, and Josephine Boardman Crane, created The Museum of Modern Art in 1929. Its founding director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., intended the Museum to be dedicated to helping people understand and enjoy the visual arts of our time, and that it might provide New York with “the greatest museum of modern art in the world.”
The rich and varied collection of The Museum of Modern Art constitutes one of the most comprehensive and panoramic views into modern art. From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, The Museum of Modern Art’s collection has grown to approximately 200,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, media and performance art works, architectural models and drawings, design objects, and films. MoMA also owns approximately two million film stills. The Museum’s Library and Archives contain the leading concentration of research material on modern art in the world, and each of the curatorial departments maintains a study center available to students, scholars, and researchers. MoMA’s Library holds over 320,000 items, including books, artists’ books, periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 90,000 artists. The Museum Archives contains primary source material related to the history of MoMA and modern and contemporary art.
The Museum maintains an active schedule of modern and contemporary art exhibitions addressing a wide range of subject matter, mediums, and time periods, highlighting significant recent developments in the visual arts and new interpretations of major artists and art historical movements. Works of art from its collection are displayed in rotating installations so that the public may regularly expect to find new works on display. Ongoing programs of classic and contemporary films range from retrospectives and historical surveys to introductions of the work of independent and experimental film- and video makers. Visitors also enjoy access to bookstores offering an assortment of publications, and a design store offering objects related to modern and contemporary art and design.
Today, The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 welcome millions of visitors every year. A still larger public is served by MoMA’s national and international programs of circulating exhibitions, loan programs, circulating film and video library, publications, Library and Archives holdings, websites, educational activities, special events, and retail sales.