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ArtBook - Being Modern: Building the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art


Published to accompany an exhibition of highlights from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris, Being Modern tells the stories of 120 works of art and design acquired by the Museum between its founding in 1929 and the present, providing a unique insight into one of the world’s greatest collections of modern and contemporary art.

Featuring paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures, video, film, architecture and design-from Paul Cézanne’s iconic painting "The Bather" (c. 1885) to a set of the 176 digital emoji we use on our mobile phones every day-the catalogue underscores the diversity and relevance of MoMA’s collection while providing a fresh perspective on the modern canon.

The book is organized chronologically according to the year each artwork entered the Museum’s collection. Short texts by curators accompany the plates, giving an overview of each work’s significance as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the process by which MoMA acquired it. An essay by the Museum’s director, Glenn D. Lowry, outlines the history of the institution and puts the collection in context, and a concise chronology charts the Museum’s growth. A departure from the usual “highlights” book, this unique catalog presents MoMA’s extraordinary collection from a new angle, telling the story of modern art through the growth of an institution that embraced an aesthetic revolution in the early 20th century and evolved along with it into the 21st.

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