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Critical Play: The Game as an Art Form, May 17, 2012 | MoMA

The Contemporary Art Forum presents timely and innovative programs (lectures, conversations, and performances) that address pressing issues in contemporary art, and grow out of discussions with MoMA curators. Participants include artists and designers, critics, curators, and scholars, among others.

From Marcel Duchamp’s chess games to Lygia Clark’s puzzles, artists throughout the 20th century have adopted the structures and strategies of games. In recent years, they have begun to explore virtual, online, and video games in their work—as well as game theory, an increasingly critical framework for audience engagement and participation—to create social interactions. This two-day forum brings together artists, educators, curators, and game theorists to discuss the influence of game theory on art practice and the ways in which art making has reformulated audience engagement and learning.

From The New York Times today:

Artist and musician David Byrne recently wrote that the cultural life of New York City had been “usurped by the top 1 percent,” implying that our society’s emphasis on the bottom line has compromised our humanist sensibilities.

With soaring housing and health care costs, and a culture that seems more interested in financial stability than creative expression, has it become too expensive to pursue the arts in this country?

Check out the discussion here.


MoMA Studio: Sound in Space, our new interactive environment for all ages, has just opened! Come check it out, now through November 24. Held in conjunction with Soundings: A Contemporary Score, the Studio features artists’ projects to tinker and play with, sounds to record, listen to, activate, create, and manipulate. Participating artists include Joe McKay, Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere, Carmen Papalia, Scott Snibbe, and Christine Sun Kim.

Pictured just above are some visitors’ visualizations and descriptions of the sounds of their worlds—“BLAM! BLAM! The song of my four-year-old son”; “NEENAWNEENAWNEENAW…”; Kevin’s snore”…What are yours?


Come join us on October 16 for a public program called Listening In: The Social Space of Sound. Held in conjunction with Soundings: A Contemporary Score, which features the work of 16 contemporary interdisciplinary artists who explore the relationships between sounds, objects, and environments—how we listen and how the spaces in which we listen impact our experiences—this discussion addresses the materiality of sound: the ways in which sound can shape our physical, collective, and social experiences; our framework for understanding our environments; and how the medium of sound is particularly positioned to challenge familiar ways of thinking. Participants include Philip Brophy, writer, composer, and film director; Christoph Cox, Professor of Philosophy, Hampshire College, and a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Branden Joseph, Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; and Johanna Fateman, musician, writer, record producer, and member of the band Le Tigre. Moderated by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, and organizer of the exhibition.

Get your tickets!


On October 16, we have a great line-up of speakers coming to MoMA not only to talk, as is expected of a panel discussion, but to have you all open up your ears. Philip Brophy, Johanna Fateman, and Branden Joseph, with Christoph Cox and Barbara London, will make sure you are listening up, or listening in, to the eclectic mix of sounds they are presenting. Feminist disruptions…foot steps of a famous monster…and more. Check out this page for more details and this one to buy tickets.


On April 17, curator Mathieu Copeland joins us as part of our Artists Experiment initiative and will be exploring those “in-between” spaces in museum and galleries—the ones that are hard to describe because they don’t have a defined purpose or character. What are the creative and poetic ways that we can reexamine, invigorate and inhabit these spaces? Come find out during his lecture, then be on the lookout for him and his art and performance students from the HEAD-Art and Design High School in Geneva—as they activate select interstitial spaces, like the Bauhaus Lounge and the Sculpture Garden, on the 17th, 18th, and 19th.

The Tumblr community has been very welcoming to MoMA Talks - through reblogging, likes, and followers, we’re really feeling the Tumblr love.  But what we can’t quite put our finger on is WHY and HOW people choose to reblog, like or follow someone. We want to know what makes you choose how to interact with content on Tumblr. 

Tell us, what makes you want to reblog something versus just liking it?

What convinces you to follow another blog on Tumblr?

In celebration of National Poetry Month MoMA will present Transform The World! Poetry Must Be Made by All! this Saturday, April 20, 3:00-4:00pm. For a full hour, the galleries will come alive with the sounds of spoken word, as poets read their own works and those of others. The poets, ranging from emerging to established, from conventional to experimental, will demonstrate and celebrate the broad range of American poetry today amid great works of postwar modern art in the Museum’s collection.

Participating poets and organizations include Bowery Poetry Club, David Grubbs, Tao Lin, Fulton Ryder, Belladonna, Exact Change, Gauss PDF, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, The Poetry Foundation, Roof Books, Troll Thread Collective, and Ugly Duckling Presse.

This event is organized by poet Kenneth Goldsmith in collaboration with our Department of Education as part of the Artists Experiment initiative.

Evaluating the MoMA Talks Tumblr: Some of the Cool Things We’ve Found Out So Far

Awhile back, I was asked how we could evaluate the MoMA Talks Tumblr, to find out more about who is looking at it, what people like about it and what people would like to see on it. As an evaluator, II always think it’s great to hear from people directly and love using open-ended questions to do so.  Along those lines, we opted to place a link to an online survey (which you can still take!) on our Tumblr page, as well as post  discussion questions. These approaches provided us with some interesting results!

I looked over all the data gathered so far and  thought it was time to share those findings with you. Enjoy and thanks to everyone who responded over the last few months!

You are pretty Tumblr savvy! 46% of respondents said they’ve been using Tumblr for two years or more! Similarly, 64% of respondents classified themselves as “very active” users of Tumblr, posting regularly and actively following several Tumblr sites. 59% told us they had over 100 followers on their Tumblr site and 51% said they are following over 200 Tumblrs!

“I use Tumblr as a daily compliment to my online magazine which doesn’t get updated as often as the Tumblr does.”

Tumblr Experiences Respondents shared some of their favorite sites. The top 5 categories were:  random art/images/quotes (people love variety!), art world Tumblrs (news, issues, movements), literary/publishing, museum Tumblrs, and personal art blogs/artist specific sites.  

Awareness Not surprisingly, 61% of people first found out about MoMA Talks on Tumblr, specifically through Tumblr recommendations. 32% explained that they follow MoMA Talks because of the quality of the posts/content shared on the site and another 32% said it was because of the reputation of MoMA and/or their love of MoMA.  

Interaction Over half of the respondents either liked a post or read a post on MoMA Talks, but just under half have reblogged a post. One stat that we really love? 80% said the interaction on MoMA Talks Tumblr made them feel more connected to MoMA.

“I feel more of a personal connection than just visiting the MoMA website. You’re sharing things that you think other like-minded people would like, and not just promoting things that are at the museum. Seein you in Tumblr, it puts you in my mind more.”

Suggestions…bring them on Our respondents wants us to post art more frequently as well as feature more artists, especially lesser known ones and/or local artists. 

"I think it would be nice to have an occasional spotlight on a particular artist or movement….We all know some of the big players, but there’s a lot of people….that I’ve never heard of or have only heard the name.”

So great hearing from all of you! Please keep sharing your experiences with Tumblr and telling us what you like and don’t like about this site. MoMA Talks Tumblr is for all of you so your feedback is super important!

Jackie Armstrong,  Landau Fellow

As part of Kenneth Goldsmith’s Uncontested Spaces series, of our Artists Experiment initiative, he invited poets Kim Rosenfield, also a psychologist, and Robert Fitterman, to take over the fourth floor volunteer Information Desk. Or rather, Misinformation Desk! Equipped with therapeutic techniques and google, Rosenfield and Fitterman answered visitors’ logistical questions with probing, psychological responses and whatever else google searches came up with. Some visitors quickly caught onto the guerrilla-style information being distributed, while others were completely perplexed by the space the poets made for interpretation and creativity in the realm of seemingly straightforward, objective questions.

When one couple asked where the Ellsworth Kelly installation was, Rosenfield responded, “That’s such an interesting question. Do you remember your first experience with art? How old were you?”

The visitors looked back with simultaneous confusion, frustration and delight!

MoMA Talks readers and participants: we want to hear from you! Take a few minutes to send us your feedback about our page and Tumblr by taking this short survey. (We promise it won’t be as painful as standardized tests, like the one shown above).

This survey will only take about 5-7 minutes to complete.

Thanks for your participation!

- MoMA Talks Team

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Today, we share our Artists Experiment artist and collaborator Xaviera Simmons.  Xaviera is mining the museum’s library archives to discover moments, gestures, and ideas from MoMA’s history. Working with us, Xaviera will be organizing a range of interactions from gallery interventions to performative workshops inspired by her findings this season. Look out for more details about Xaviera’s projects later this winter! 

Follow her on twitter @xavierasimmons - she’s tweeting bits and pieces of her research!