Organised by Fondation Louis Vuitton
in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Exhibition Being Modern: MoMA in Paris draws together a superb and far-reaching representation of the highly important artworks that MoMA has acquired since its founding in 1929. Presented from 11 October 2017 to 5 March 2018, the exhibition includes masterworks ranging from the birth of modern art through trends and styles such as American abstraction, Pop art and Minimalism to the most contemporary art.
A multidisciplinary selection of 200 works will occupy the whole of the Fondations building. The works are drawn from all six of the MoMAs curatorial departments, reflecting the history of the institution and the choices it had made in building its collecting.
The exhibition responds to two objectives: to show a significant body of MoMAs great collection in Paris, and to evoke the more fluid and interdisciplinary installations that visitors to MoMA will encounter following the completion of the expansion and renovation project.
Among the 200 works presented at Fondation Louis Vuitton are masterpieces by Paul Cézanne, Gustav Klimt, Paul Signac, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Giorgio de Chirico, Edward Hopper, Max Beckmann, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Alexander Calder, René Magritte, Walker Evans, Yayoi Kusama, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Yvonne Rainer and Frank Stella. The selection will alternate between acknowledged masterpieces and less familiar but nevertheless highly significant artworks. A selection of rarely shown materials from MoMAs archives, retracing the history of the Museum, will also be incorporated into the galleries.
Some of the works will be shown in France for the first time: Constantin Brancusis bronze Bird in Space (1928); Diane Arbuss Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey (1967); Andy Warhols Campbells Soup Cans (1962); Philip Gustons Tomb (1978); (Untitled) USA Today by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1990); 144 Lead Square by Carl Andre (1969); Untitled by Christopher Wool (1990); Untitled (You Invest in the Divinity of the Masterpiece) by Barbara Kruger (1982); and Patchwork Quilt by Romare Bearden (1970).
Bernard Arnault, President of Fondation Louis Vuitton says: I wanted Being Modern: MoMA in Paris to fall within the tradition of our previous major exhibitions such as Keys to a Passion, 2015, and Icons of Modern Art, The Shchukin Collection, 2016. All three have been organised in close collaboration with some of the worlds most prestigious international modern art museums. This exhibition marks, once again, our desire to provide the widest possible audience with the opportunity to engage with some of the worlds most remarkable works of art.
Suzanne Pagé, Artistic Director of Fondation Louis Vuitton and overall curator of the exhibition, says: This exhibition has two objectives: to show in Paris works that represent pivotal moments in the history of modern art, while eliciting the impact that the expanded and renovated MoMA will have on the international landscapre.
Paradoxically, the immense overall success of MoMA means that many interesting particularities about the Museum have been eclipsed. Its almost hegemonic status proposed the idea of a potentially universal art museum an idea which, as its proponents are aware, has now become outdated.
The famous canon presented in the 1936 manifesto of Alfred H. Barr, the legendary founding director of MoMA, set out two directions based on European precursors: fauvism and cubism, both of which led to abstract art. This canon has become an almost uncontested reference; however, it contradicts certain principles of openness towards other geographical locations, identities and disciplines, which Barr himself also established. These principles are clarified in this exhibition, redefined and redeployed with a new perspective.
Glenn D. Lowry, Director of MoMA, says, regarding MoMAs strategy for the coming years: The Museums dual strategy for the future is to have both integrated galleries and medium-specific galleries.
The disjunctive nature of modern and contemporary art canand shouldbe reflected in the galleries. This means using a collage-like approach, with each gallery telling an independent story, enabling competing and even contradictory relationships to emerge instead of trying to present a linear progression of artistic movements or relationships that can never, in fact, be more than an arbitrary abstraction.
In doing so, we return to one of the founding principles of the Museum: that its interests lie in the various manifestations of a modern aesthetic across multiple disciplines. This is the promise of the idea of a museum of modern art. And while this promise has been contested, revised, and reinterpreted over timeas it will continue to be in the futureit is fundamental to ensuring that the Museum of Modern Art stands for a generous and broad understanding of modern art.
Exhibition Being Modern: MoMA in Paris is co-organised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, under the direction of Glenn Lowry (director, Museum of Modern Art) and Suzanne Pagé (artistic director, Fondation Louis Vuitton). The curator of the exhibition is Quentin Bajac (The Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography, MoMA), assisted by Katerina Stathopoulou (Assistant Curator, MoMA) in association with Olivier Michelon (Curator, Fondation Louis Vuitton) for the installation of the exhibition in Paris. The section pertaining to the archives is organised by Michelle Elligott (Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections, MoMA).
The selection of artworks and the structure of the exhibition were defined by Glenn D. Lowry and Quentin Bajac, with the support of the various curatorial departments of the Museum. These departments have worked together during the planning of this exhibition to enable discussions, develop comparative approaches and foster openness towards other geographic and aesthetic horizons or potential identities. The project was undertaken in close collaboration with the artistic department of Fondation Louis Vuitton.