Lines, Grids, Stains, Words
thru October 22, 2007
Lines, Grids, Stains, Words presents drawings from the 1960s to the present that conflate the simple and seemingly impersonal formal and compositional vocabularies of Minimal art with references to the physical and the bodily. Concerned with issues of scale and perception rather than content, Minimal art often utilizes industrial fabrication techniques and materials, and its hallmark compositional strategies include straight lines and geometric forms organized in rows, grids, and sequences. But Minimal art’s relation to the body, while ever present in the medium of sculpture, is often difficult to discern in studies, sketches, and other related works on paper. This exhibition traces the ways in which remnants of the physical can be found in Minimalist works on paper, beginning in the early 1960s, when the formal conventions were defined and tested, and follows the applications of these vocabularies in reference to the body through the present day.
James Lee Byars: The Art of Writing
thru October 29, 2007
This exhibition includes a selection of letters written by artist James Lee Byars, who for over fifteen years engaged in an engrossing correspondence with MoMA curator Dorothy C. Miller. Written using manifold and diverse media, these letters reveal the artist’s interest in materiality, and many of the documents also have a performative nature that evokes the element of time. Drawn from The Museum of Modern Art Archives, these writings function as an intimate sketchbook; they clearly delineate the artist’s ideas while making room for experimentation with materials—often the same materials Byars used in his “mature,” fully executed works.
Focus: Ellsworth Kelly
thru January 7, 2008
This single-gallery installation is devoted to thirteen paintings and drawings by Ellsworth Kelly. Three of the paintings are on view for the first time and are recent acquisitions: Relief with Blue (1950), a gift from Donald L. Bryant, Jr., a Museum Trustee; Dominican (1952), a gift from the artist; and Two Whites (1959), a gift from James and Kathy Goodman. In addition to these pivotal works from the 1950s, the gallery features a major work from the 1980s, Three Panels: Orange, Dark Gray, Green (1986). Composed of three shaped canvases, it spans thirty-four feet of the gallery wall. Over the past five decades, Kelly has redefined abstraction by examining the shapes and colors found in natural and man-made forms, producing a visually and philosophically sophisticated body of work.
50 Years of Helvetica
thru March 31, 2008
2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Max Miedinger and Edouard Hoffmann’s design Helvetica, the most ubiquitous of all typefaces. Widely considered the official typeface of the twentieth century, Helvetica communicates with simple, well-proportioned letterforms that convey an aesthetic clarity that is at once universal, neutral, and undeniably modern. In honor of the first typeface acquired for MoMA’s collection, the installation presents posters, signage, and other graphic material demonstrating the variety of uses and enduring beauty of this design classic. As a special feature in the exhibition, an excerpt of Gary Hustwit’s documentary Helvetica reveals the typeface as we experience it in an everyday context.