PRINT February 2005


SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1929, The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been a beacon of modernism, acting as a singular advocate and home for some of the most significant works of art made over the last 125 years. Although scores of museums devoted to modern and contemporary art have sprung up around the world, for many of us MoMA will always be the Museum of Modern Art, indisputably worthy of the definite article preceding its name. But with this preeminence comes a heightened level of scrutiny, and one of MoMA’s most important functions—along with the presentation of its incomparable collection and the promotion of scholarship—has always been to catalyze and encourage vigorous critical debate, both within its walls and without. And, of course, the reopening of the expanded museum on its seventy-fifth anniversary inherently provides an important opportunity to reflect on such issues as museum architecture and patronage, the legacy of MoMA’s former curators, and the very way in which the story of modern art is told. For this occasion, Artforum asked four writers—architectural critics MARK WIGLEY and CYNTHIA DAVIDSON and art historians YVE-ALAIN BOIS and BENJAMIN H.D. BUCHLOH—to consider architect Yoshio Taniguchi’s physical reinvention of the museum and the curators’ reinstallation of its permanent collection, which together constitute one of the most important museum events of the decade. To complement their takes, the magazine also invited photographers TODD EBERLE and LOUISE LAWLER to offer their own perspectives on the museum and its renewed place in our cultural landscape.