In a major collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne and New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the exhibition 'MoMA: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art' shines a light on the radical design thinkers, artists and art movements of the 1960s and 70s.
The collection of over 200 works trace the development of art and design from late-nineteenth-century urban and industrial transformation, through to the digital and global present. It is a powerful cross-section still hugely influential today.
Starting with 'new art' from the dawn of the 20th century the tightly curated show includes works from MoMA’s Architecture and Design collection exhibited alongside some of the most important visual art from the 1960s. Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Lynda Benglis and Sol LeWitt, and the spontaneous and tactile works by Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock.
Looking at the radical design thinkers of the 1960s and 70s, the show includes the architects who dreamt up plans for exciting new cities and the way we could live in them. Peter Cook’s 'plug-in-city’ and Ron Herron’s ‘moving city’ were influenced by Pop Art and science fiction at a time when the world was changing socially. Dynamism, flexibility and enjoyment were in focus. While Yona Friedman’s Spatial City Buildings addressed the then shortage of housing in France with buildings that incorporated empty spaces for inhabitants to design and construct homes themselves.
Fast track to today, parallels can be drawn to the shortage of housing, and lack of affordability, and the work of architects working to address this. Including the Pritzker Prize-winning Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. His “Do Tank” firm Elemental has developed a new flexible model for social housing by engaging local communities in shaping their own suburb much like the big thinking ideals of Yona Friedman, Peter Cook and Ron Herron.
Providing the ‘r’ in Radical, Italian designer Ettore Sottsass is also included in the show. His vision for the “planet as festival” resounds through all of his work. His Pop Art inspired products for Olivetti and Kartell characterised by colour and playful forms mixed whimsy with rigour and were the foundations for the influential Memphis Group. While other works include a 1932 architectural model by Le Corbusier; graphics, furniture and textiles by artists from the Bauhaus school; the pioneering computer game 'Space Invaders' by Tomohiro Nishikado; and the original set of 176 emoji first developed by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 and acquired by MoMA in 2016.
Organised by Samantha Friedman, Associate Curator, Drawings and Prints, MoMA; Juliet Kinchin, Curator of Modern Design, MoMA; Christian Rattemeyer, The Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator of Drawings and Prints, MoMA; and Miranda Wallace, Senior Curator, International Exhibition Projects, NGV. 'MoMA: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art' is on exhibition at the NGV until 7 October 2018.
Space Australia is an ongoing supporter of the NGV, and, together with New York-based lighting brand Roll & Hill, has provided a series of lights for the gallery shop to complement the exhibition.