MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929 to preserve the cultural heritage and make modern art accessible to the common man. The founders, among them John D. Rockefeller, Jr, wanted to create: “the greatest museum of modern art in the world”.
The Museum of Modern Art’s collection has grown to include over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects. MoMA also owns approximately 22,000 films and four million film stills, and MoMA’s Library and Archives, the premier research facilities of their kind in the world, hold over 300,000 books, artist books, and periodicals, and extensive individual files on more than 70,000 artists.
My own interest lies in the fact that I stumbled upon old MoMa catalogues from the 40’s and 50’s. I was visiting a second-hand recycle center in Helsinki in 2004 and found a handful copies of 70’s architectural magazines. While going through them a member of the staff asked me whether I would like to see the rest of them. He led me down to the basement, where they stored goods not yet displayed in the shop. He pulled out a chair for me and said that they had just gotten in eight boxes of magazines from a elderly Finnish couple that had recently passed away and that I could take my time going through them. I started opening the boxes and quickly realized that this was a once in a lifetime moment. It dawned on me that this was a well traveled, educated group of people’s private collection of magazines from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. There were catalogues and magazines in Swedish, Finnish, Danish, German, French, English and other dealing with art, design, architecture, you name it. I started going through them and spent two hours doing so. All in all, I bought about a hundred publications but I still regret that I did not buy more. Well anyway, I post some of the MoMa brochures for you here.
MoMA hosts one of the largest selection of design products in their online shop – check it out
Looking forward to visting the museum some day ourselves.