The Fourth Floor of the Museum of Modern Art

MoMA opened in 2019 with a unique approach presentation to its contemporary art display. Its collections contain creativity levels that existed over the past. The arts range from film, photography, architecture, media, paintings, performance, and sculpture to works on paper. Most of the galleries in the museum are arranged chronologically, on the second, fourth, and fifth floors. However, the fourth floor is the most outstanding area with a sequential arrangement on the 23 galleries, and each colonnade holds a particular topic. In other words, a portrait can contain the works of a specific artist, discipline, or a common creative idea. Even though most floors cover various topics, the fourth floor is composed of issues that relate to the lives of the artists, infrastructure, and technological advancements.

First, the fourth floor mainly contains works collected from 1940-the 1970s, which cover artists’ lives. During that period, the world had just experienced a Global War that had affected many individuals’ livelihoods. Artists were not spared, and as a result, there was drastic migration of the artists from the epicenter of the war, Europe, to other parts of the world. However, the artists were not at peace, like any other individual. They faced several challenges, and their normal lives were interrupted. For instance, galleries 412, 420, and 421 reveal the struggles that artists were experiencing (MoMA n.d.). In other words, World War changed people’s normal lives, and they had to adapt to the new environment.

Second, the floor contains arts that illustrate infrastructural development, which was witnessed over forty decades ago. The built environment experienced tremendous change as there was a need to develop and replace the destroyed infrastructures (Tang 2015). Besides, mass immigration from European nations redistributed population; hence there was a need to build structures that could accommodate the increased population. For instance, image 417 demonstrates how the field of architecture was transformed, and 415 equally shows how conceived ideas were changed into real structures (MoMA n.d.). They show how the integration of various art activities led to great infrastructures such as skyscrapers, which changed the whole world but led to the effective use of space.

Third, the fourth-floor images illustrate the technological breakthroughs that were witnessed between 1940 to 1970. Image 410 by Nam June Paik shows how technological advancements were achieved. It all began with simple structures as toys before it was manifested in complex objects over time. Media technology was the main sector affected, and this is illustrated in gallery 418, where film and video are used (MoMA n.d.). The use of photography also increased as artists realized it was an effective and immediate way of capturing the surroundings and the events (Suominen and Harviainen 2019). The cameras were made portable and could be carried everywhere the artists were going. Gallery 419 on the fourth floor demonstrates how important the cameras were during that era.

Succinctly, the fourth floor is full of issues that range from the lives of artists to the technological improvements witnessed between 1940 to 1970. After World War, many artists found it hard to cope in the new environment; thus, they began to relocate to new areas that could accommodate them. Their normal lives were interrupted, and they had personal issues to handle. The floor is also composed of infrastructural developments that came into reality after conceiving the ideas, especially the architectural designs. Moreover, technological advancement, such as the use of films, videos, and photography in media, is widely exhibited by the images on the fourth floor.


MoMA. n.d. Collection 1940s to 1970s. Web.

Suominen, Jaakko, and J. Tuomas Harviainen. Comics as an introduction to media technology: Case Finland, television, and Donald Duck in the 1950s and the early 1960s. 2019. Web.

Tang, Gabriel. 2015. “An overview of historical and contemporary concrete shells, their construction and factors in their general disappearance.” International Journal of Space Structures 30 (1): 1-12. Web.

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