water lilies at moma

Exploring the Now: A Guide to Current MoMA Exhibitions

5 min read

As always, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is brimming with exhibitions that spark thought and highlight perspectives often overlooked in the art world. Explore groundbreaking architecture designed with sustainability in mind, thought-provoking work by conceptual artists, and designs that blend nature with innovation. MoMA’s current exhibitions offer something for creatives, environmentalists, and those seeking powerful and diverse artistic expression. From pieces by Shana Moulton to those by Käthe Kollwitz, don’t miss the chance to discover art that resonates with you!

The DesignDash Guide to Current Museum of Modern Art Exhibitions

Shana Moulton: Meta/Physical Therapy

When: Feb 17–Apr 21, 2024

Where: MoMA, Floor 4, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5644

This exhibition is presented as a multi-chapter narrative and will be accompanied by performances you absolutely must experience. It uses performance, video, and sculpture for the purpose of chronicling the experiences of her alter-ego Cynthia, navigating personal choices and physical limitations.

Leslie Thornton’s HANDMADE

When: Nov 4, 2023–No Planned Closure Date

Where: MoMA, Floor 1

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5653

Leslie Thornton’s exhibition, HANDMADE, explores the intersection of natural phenomena and scientific discovery. Her video diptych contrasts footage of a powerful storm with the meticulous creation of an antimatter research instrument. The piece investigates the hidden, material aspects of science head on, which bridge the gap between theory and tangible results. Thornton’s work blends the thrilling with the ordinary, the beautiful with the unsettling, as she investigates the relationship between the scientific world and the natural forces that shape our universe.

Carolina Caycedo: Spiral for Shared Dreams

When: Until May 19

Where: MoMA, Floor 2, The Donald and Catherine Marron Family Atrium

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5659

Art can spark awareness of environmental threats and showcase alternative, more sustainable ways of living. Carolina Caycedo’s work demonstrates this by highlighting the effects of infrastructure projects like dams on water systems and the communities that rely on them.

Her installation, Spiral for Shared Dreams, incorporates traditional fishing nets crafted by Mexican communities facing environmental challenges. These nets become canvases for depicting elements of nature, mythology, and symbols of resistance. By incorporating traditional craft and symbols of resilience, Caycedo’s work emphasizes the deep connection between communities and nature, reminding us of the importance of protecting both.

Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning

When: Until July 6

Where: MoMA, Floor 6, The Steven and Alexandra Cohen, Center for Special Exhibitions

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5367

Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning is a retrospective exhibit showcasing the multidisciplinary nature of her work, which blurs the lines between different artistic mediums. Jonas’s career spans decades, starting as a pioneer in performance and video art during the dynamic New York art scene of the 60s and 70s.

Her pieces explore the transformative effects of elements like distance, mirrors, and cameras on perception. The exhibition encompasses drawings, installations, performances, and more. While drawing inspiration from history, Jonas’s work remains rooted in the present, with recent installations highlighting urgent issues like climate change and the interconnectedness of species.

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Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design

When: Until July 7

Where: MoMA, Floor 1, 1 South

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5616

The exhibition Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design emphasizes the need for empathy and responsibility in design for the sake of all living beings and future generations. It argues that design can be a powerful tool for change, helping restore a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.

The exhibition features objects that showcase the full life cycle of their materials, from how they’re sourced to how they can be reused or disposed of responsibly. Designers are exploring innovative solutions, sometimes inspired by traditional methods, to support a balanced ecosystem. Examples include transforming cow manure into speaker casings, creating carbon-neutral building materials from fungi, and even having bees craft honeycomb vases. This exhibition demonstrates that design can be beautiful, functional, and a force for positive environmental change.

While it might not present art in the traditional sense, this is one of several programs we can’t wait to see this year when we visit MoMA in New York.

Käthe Kollwitz

When: Until July 20

Where: MoMA, Floor 3, 3 South, The Edward Steichen Galleries

Learn More: https://moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5625

The Käthe Kollwitz exhibition spotlights an artist who defied the growing trend of abstraction in early 20th-century art, instead choosing to use her work as a tool for social advocacy. Kollwitz’s art focuses on themes of motherhood, grief, and the struggles of the working class, offering a powerful female perspective and a voice for the voiceless. This major retrospective, the first of its kind in a New York museum, showcases her most significant projects alongside preparatory studies, revealing her dedication to both social change and artistic process.

Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980 (en español)

When: Until September 22

Where: MoMA, Floor 3, 3 North, The Philip Johnson Galleries

Learn More: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5698

Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980 is an exhibition that explores the diverse perspectives on modern design in Latin America from 1940 to 1980. The exhibition features a variety of objects, including furniture, appliances, textiles, ceramics, and photographs, that showcase the different approaches to design that were taken during this period.

The exhibition also explores how design was used to reflect and shape national identity during this period. For example, many designers incorporated traditional motifs and materials into their work in an effort to create a unique and authentic Latin American design aesthetic.

This show is a fascinating and informative exhibition that provides a new perspective on the history of modern design. It is a must-see for anyone interested in design, Latin American art, or cultural history.

More Art by Women Currently on View

Maman at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Another edition is on view at MoMA.

For women’s perspectives on contemporary art, Frida Kahlo’s Fulang-Chang and I from 1937—a moving self-portrait by the iconic Mexican artist that explores themes of identity and duality. Other works by female artists at NY MoMA include Faith Ringgold’s American People Series #20: Die from 1967, Louise Bourgeois’ Spider from 1997, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue from 1931.

While no longer on view, we encourage you to take a virtual tour of the Elizabeth Murray MoMA exhibit from 2006 here. It is a fascinating exploration of her poppy, surrealist-inspired work.

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Permanent Collection Highlights

MoMA houses a world-renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. Some must-see works include the following. For more updates on upcoming exhibitions across the country (and worldwide), sign up for our newsletter so you can receive that info in your inbox!

  • Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night
  • Pablo Picasso: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
  • Salvador Dalí: The Persistence of Memory
  • Claude Monet: Water Lilies
  • Andy Warhol: Campbell’s Soup Cans