Explore MoMA: A Guide to its History, Facts, Collections and More

Take an unforgettable trip to the ultimate odyssey of creativity beyond tools and imagination at The Museum of Modern Art.

MoMA NYC, as referred to by the locals, was established in 1929.

The three women of substance behind its inception are Addy Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan.

The Museum of Modern Art initially aimed at providing a thriving space for modern and contemporary art pieces.

Contemporary and modern art often failed to receive the attention it deserved, thus paving the way for MoMA NYC’s foundation.

Since then, the Museum of Modern Art has housed over 200,000 art pieces dating back 150 years.

An Artistic Sanctuary

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, is an artist’s heaven, an artistic sanctuary, and an art lover’s paradise.

MoMA NYC’s polished architecture attracts visitors, and the MoMA Nyc exhibits are popular worldwide.

The Museum houses several paintings, sculptures, and pictures highlighting the focus and stress on diversity and dynamism in modern art forms.

The museum is a must-visit for art lovers seeking inspiration from the best artists of the previous decades.

MoMA Collection Highlights

If you cannot explore MoMA NYC completely, it is best recommended that you check out the must-see collections at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Here’s a list of the Collections Highlights at the Museum of Modern Art New York:

  • The City Rises by Umberto Boccioni
  • I and the Village by Marc Chagall
  • The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
  • The Song of Love by Giorgio de Chirico
  • Woman I by Willem de Kooning
  • Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein
  • The Dance by Henri Matisse
  • The Dream by Henri Rousseau
  • The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau
  • Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andry Warhol
  • Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

What’s More at the MoMA?

The Museum of Modern Art has several departments, such as the Department of Photography, the Department of Films and so on.

These departments are dedicated to exclusive collections in their respective fields.

Let’s learn more about them here.

Photography at MoMA

Image: Moma.org

Beaumont Newhall established the Department of Photography at MoMA NYC in 1940.

The department developed a globally recognized and internationally acclaimed photography collection under Edward Steichen.

It houses over 25,000 photographs by photographers, journalists, and scientists.

The Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art NYC is one of the most important in the world because of its outlook and dedication to preserving modern art.

The Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art also welcomes amateurs.

Films at MoMA

Alfred Brarr, the Museum of Modern Art’s first director, stressed the importance of introducing a department dedicated to Films.

He called it the only art form peculiar to the 20th century.

The vision behind this was to help the American public appreciate and support good films.

John Hay Whitney, a noted film producer and MoMA NYC’s trustee, became the director of the first film library from 1935 to 1951.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences applauded the Department of Films’ significant contribution to film collection.

It is also universally acknowledged for a pioneering effort to enable studying the historical and aesthetic development of motion pictures as a major art form.

Painting and Sculpture at MoMA

Painting and Sculpture
Image: Moma.org

The Department of Painting and Sculpture houses one of the world’s most expansive and awe-inspiring collections of paintings and sculptures.

The collections of this department are from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, there are over 150,000 works in this section, from paintings, sculptures, and performances.

Visitors can witness art pieces of fauvism, expressionism, cubism, and futurism art movements.

These were major European art movements during the late 18th to 20th centuries.

Media and Performance at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art NYC became the first department dedicated to films.

The department’s initial focus was on the collection and preservation of European and American avant-garde films.

The Department of Media and Performance at the Museum of Modern Art New York houses over 30,000 artworks today.

This department frequently exhibits time-based arts, too.

The art pieces in this department include moving images, film installations, videos, films, motion and sound-based artworks as well.

Drawing and Print at MoMA NYC

Drawing and Print
Image: Moma.org

With the hiring of William S. Lieberman as the Department of Drawing and Print at MoMA NYC, the department was formally established in 1940.

A significant addition to the department’s collection were drawings from the 19th-century French and early 20th-century drawings by artists like Matisse and Picasso.

There are over 300,000 prints, 24,000 drawings, and 5,800 photographic illustrations.

The credit for this extensive collection goes to several donors and benefactors.

Some of the major donations include:

  • Over 500 works from Louise and Walter Arensberg’s collection in the 1950s.
  • Surrealist drawings from the bequeathal of Saidie A.

Architecture and Design at MoMA

The Department of Architecture and Design focuses on collecting and displaying landmarks of modern and contemporary designs.

The department’s collection has grown manifold in the past nine decades and has over 30,000 drawings, models, prototypes, etc.

There are also several thousand industrial and manufactured design models or objects of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Library at MoMA

Image: Moma.org

MoMA NYC’s library is in Midtown Manhattan, with an offsite storage facility in Long Island City in Queens.

The documents at the library include documents on art forms from 1880 to the present.

Readers can find documents on paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, movies, architecture, and even performances at the Library at The Museum of Modern Art.

It is one of the most significant collections, with over 300,000 books, a thousand periodicals, 11,000 artist books, and 40,000 documents on artists and their groups.

The Library is accessible to all researchers on an appointment basis, and its collection is called a “Database.”

History of the Museum of Modern Art

Let’s have a look at the intriguing history of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with this brief timeline.

  • 1929: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan established the Museum and opened it publicly on 7 November in a rented place.
  • 1932: The Museum was relocated to its present location on 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan.
  • 1939: MoMA NYC exhibit “Art in Our Time” showcased modern European art.

This MoMA NYC exhibit included precious artworks by noted artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky.

  • 1940: The Department of Photography was established at the Museum of Modern Art, recognizing its photography as an art form.
  • 1958L A major fire occurred at the museum where a painting by Claude Monet was destroyed and other artworks were evacuated.

The museum was expanded to include new galleries under the able guidance of architect Philp Johnson.

  • 1983: The Museum of Modern Art underwent a major renovation that increased the space for MoMA NYC exhibits and enhanced the facilities at the museum.
  • 2004: This year saw the museum’s opening after yet another expansion project that added Yoshio Taniguchi, further increasing the size of MoMA.
  • 2019: The museum reopened on 21 October and added 47,000 square feet for the galleries.

After another significant renovation, the collection’s presentation was reimagined, helping with a more inclusive visitor experience.

Facts About the Museum of Modern Art

We are sure that by now, the Museum of Modern Art has intrigued you enough to spike a wish to explore it.

Let us enhance the desire further by learning more about the MoMA NYC.

Here are some amazing facts about the Museum of Modern Art New York:

  • The visionaries behind MoMA NYC’s inception are three prominent women passionate about modern art.
  • Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, one of the establishing figures behind the Museum of Modern Art NYC, was the wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • The Museum of Modern Art New York’s first director was Alfred H. Barr Jr., who was instrumental in establishing MoMA’s pioneering steps.
  • The MoMA NYC was moved from Manhattan’s 12th floor of the Heckscher Building.
  • The Museum of Modern Art then moved three more times in the next decade to temporary locations.
  • MoMA NYC was one of the first Museums dedicated to modern art forms, as most museums house ancient and antique collectibles.

FAQs About Visiting MoMa

1. Where is the Museum of Modern Art situated?

The Museum of Modern Art is situated at 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan.

2. What is so special about the Museum of Modern Art?

MoMA is known for its dedicated collection of modern art spanning 150 years.

Today, there are over 200,000 art pieces in MoMA NYC.

3. What is the most famous art piece at MoMA NYC?

Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is the most famous art piece at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Dutch painter painted The Starry Night in June 1889.

4. What can I see at the Museum of Modern Art?

There’s a lot to see at the Museum of Modern Art.

Visitors can see famous paintings and sculptures such as The Starry Night, other paintings by Pablo Picasso, and other contemporary art pieces.

5. What are the most famous collections at the Museum of Modern Art?

The most famous collections at the Museum of Modern Art include The Song of Love by Giorgio de Chirico and The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

Other famous collections at MoMA NYC include Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy and The Dance.

6. Is MoMA NYC worth visiting?

MoMA NYC is worth visiting for all art lovers.

The Museum of Modern Art houses numerous thought-provoking art pieces, from paintings to sculptures.

7. What are the MoMA Hours in NYC?

The MoMA opening hours in NYC are from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days of the week except Saturdays.

The Museum of Modern Art remains open from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm on Saturdays.

8. Can I take food inside MoMA?

Outside food is not allowed inside the MoMA galleries.

Visitors can enjoy a meal at the restaurants in the Museum of Modern Art’s vicinity or the MoMA NYC’s cafes.

9. Does MoMA NYC have a dress code?

There is no fixed dress code prescribed by the authorities at MoMA NYC.

Visitors can dress comfortably, keeping the museum’s atmosphere in mind.

10. Can visitors with disabilities access the Museum of Modern Art in New York?

The Museum of Modern Art is completely accessible to visitors with disabilities.

The museum’s galleries are wheelchair accessible, and visitors with difficulty standing can alert the employees.

Such visitors do not have to wait in lines and are shifted ahead in the queue.

Featured Image: Moma.org

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!