CULTURE & ARTS
09/15/2016 04:21 pm ET

Thanks To The Internet, You Can Now Visit Every MoMA Exhibition That Ever Happened

Ready to visit all the Museum of Modern Art shows that closed before you were born?
Audrey Hepburn and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. at the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Picasso: 75th Anniversary,</i>&nbsp;on view May 4, 1957 thro
The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Barry Kramer
Audrey Hepburn and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. at the exhibition Picasso: 75th Anniversary, on view May 4, 1957 through August 25, 1957 (first floor and auditorium); May 22, 1957 through September 8, 1957 (third floor) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Time operates differently within the walls of an art museum. Pablo Picasso paintings made in the early 20th century hang just steps away from Alexander Calder sculptures made 30 years later, or Robert Rauschenberg collages made 30 years after that.

Moving through the sundry displays of time and space it’s easy to feel that, within the museum space, time has stopped. 

But, in reality, time stretches on, even in museums. Proof? The 86-year-old Museum of Modern Art just released an extensive digital archive featuring 33,000 images that chronicle the museum’s long exhibition history, from 1929 to today. Installation shots, exhibition checklists, press releases, and catalogs trace the history of the iconic modern art museum from its inception ― and how its inner walls have changed. 

Installation view of the exhibition <i>Bauhaus: 1919-1928</i>, on view December 7, 1938 through January 30, 1939 at The Museu
The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Soichi Sunami
Installation view of the exhibition Bauhaus: 1919-1928, on view December 7, 1938 through January 30, 1939 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The archive begins with MoMA’s very first exhibition, “Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh.” It then spans 3,500 subsequent shows including 1932’s “Modern Architecture,” 1936’s “Cubism and Abstract Art,” 1939’s “Bauhaus 1919–1928,” and 1970’s “Information.” 

Photographs and materials related to each exhibition are available for free in the public domain, where they can be sorted and analyzed. Users can determine, for example, how many exhibitions good ole Paul Klee has been in throughout the years, or surf through all shows curated by Kynaston McShine. 

The archive also features photos of magic moments throughout MoMA history ― mostly, when famous people or artists fell under the spell of one of the museum’s works. 

In one 1957 photograph, Audrey Hepburn admires Picasso’s “Garçon à la Pipe,” while in another, Mies van der Rohe chats with architect Philip Johnson at his 1947 exhibition opening. The photographs, available to historians, students, artists, and museum nerds of all types, map out the changing image of modernity as it evolved over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Machine Art</i>, on view March 5, 1934 through April 29, 1934 at The Museum of Mo
The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
Installation view of the exhibition Machine Art, on view March 5, 1934 through April 29, 1934 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The exhibition history project was initiated and overseen by Michelle Elligott, the MoMA’s chief of archives, and Fiona Romeo, director of digital content and strategy. They’ve realized the vision over the course of the past two and a half years.

“The project was conceived as a living archive rather than a one-off Web publication,” Romeo said in a statement. “It will be continually updated, with new and forthcoming exhibitions appearing in the history as soon as they’re added to the calendar on MoMA’s website. Additional primary documents will be added as they’re processed.”

Ready to visit all the sanctified MoMA shows that closed before you were born? Just head to MoMA’s Exhibition History and dive on in. Meet you at the Bauhaus show!

  • Cover of the exhibition catalogue&nbsp;<i>The Machine: As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.</i>
    MoMA
    Cover of the exhibition catalogue The Machine: As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.
  • Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>The Family of Man</i>, on view January 24, 1955 through May 8, 1955 at The Museum
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Rolf Petersen.
    Installation view of the exhibition The Family of Man, on view January 24, 1955 through May 8, 1955 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • John E. Abbott at the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Bambi: The Making of an Animated Sound Picture</i>, on view July 15, 1942 through Au
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York
    John E. Abbott at the exhibition Bambi: The Making of an Animated Sound Picture, on view July 15, 1942 through August 20, 1942 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Victor D’Amico Papers, VI.34.
  • Press release for the exhibition&nbsp;<i>16 Americans</i>, on view December 16, 1959 through February 17, 1960 at The Museum
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
    Press release for the exhibition 16 Americans, on view December 16, 1959 through February 17, 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Information</i>, on view July 2, 1970 through September 20, 1970 at The Museum of
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: James Mathews.
    Installation view of the exhibition Information, on view July 2, 1970 through September 20, 1970 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>C&eacute;zanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh</i>, on view November 7, 1929 through D
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Peter Juley
    Installation view of the exhibition Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh, on view November 7, 1929 through December 7, 1929 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Checklist for the exhibition&nbsp;<i>The Museum Collection of Painting and Sculpture</i>, on view June 20, 1945 through Janua
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
    Checklist for the exhibition The Museum Collection of Painting and Sculpture, on view June 20, 1945 through January 13, 1946 (second floor); June 20, 1945 through February 13, 1946 (third floor), at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Installation view of the exhibition <i>16 Americans</i>, on view December 16, 1959 through February 17, 1960 at The Museum of
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Rudy Burckhardt
    Installation view of the exhibition 16 Americans, on view December 16, 1959 through February 17, 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson at the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Mies van der Rohe</i>, on view September 16, 1947 through Jan
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: William Leftwich
    Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson at the exhibition Mies van der Rohe, on view September 16, 1947 through January 25, 1948 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>The Museum Collection of Painting and Sculpture</i>, on view June 20, 1945 throug
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Soichi Sunami
    Installation view of the exhibition The Museum Collection of Painting and Sculpture, on view June 20, 1945 through January 13, 1946 (second floor); June 20, 1945 through February 13, 1946 (third floor), at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Installation view of the exhibition&nbsp;<i>Photography Until Now</i>, on view February 18, 1990 through May 29, 1990 at The
    The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photographer: Mali Olatunji © The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
    Installation view of the exhibition Photography Until Now, on view February 18, 1990 through May 29, 1990 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Art History
CONVERSATIONS