MoMA PS1 is one of the largest art institutions in the United States dedicated solely to contemporary art. It is located in the Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City. In addition to its exhibitions, the institution organizes the Sunday Sessions performance series, the Warm Up summer music series, and the Young Architects Program with the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA PS1 has been affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art since January 2000 and, as of 2013, attracts about 200,000 visitors a year.[1]

PS1 in 1994
LocationNew York City (Long Island City, Queens), New York, U.S.
Coordinates40.745367°N 73.947977°W / 40.745367; -73.947977
TypeContemporary art
VisitorsOver 200,000 per year



What would become MoMA PS1 was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc.,[2] an organization with the mission of turning abandoned, underutilized buildings in New York City into artist studios and exhibition spaces.

Recognizing that New York was a worldwide magnet for contemporary artists, and believing that traditional museums were not providing adequate exhibition opportunities for site-specific art, in 1971 Heiss established a formal, alternative arts organization with architecture/theater critic Brendan Gill called The Institute for Art and Urban Resources, and began renovating abandoned buildings in New York City.

In 1976, Heiss opened the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in a deserted Romanesque Revival public school building, exponentially increasing the organization's exhibition and studio capacity. This building, dating from 1892, served as the first school in Long Island City until 1963, when the First Ward school it housed was closed due to low attendance and the building was turned into a warehouse.[3]

In October 1997, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center reopened to the public after a three-year, $8.5 million renovation project designed by Los Angeles-based architecture firm Frederick Fisher & Partners.[4][5][6] The building's facilities were increased from 84,000 to 125,000 square feet in order to include a large outdoor gallery, a dramatic entryway, and a two-story project space.

In February 1999, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Modern Art announced their institutional merger, which was stated to take 10 years and designed to preserve P.S. 1 as a center of independent experimentation and exploration.

Affiliation with the Museum of Modern Art

MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Modern Art formalized their affiliation in January 2000.[2] New York City, which owns the MoMA PS1 building, endorsed the merger.[5] The principal objective of MoMA's partnership with MoMA PS1 is to promote the enjoyment, appreciation, study, and understanding of contemporary art to a wide and growing audience. Collaborative programs of exhibitions, educational activities, and special projects allow both institutions to draw on their respective strengths and resources and to continue shaping a cultural discourse. The two institutions also integrated their development, education, marketing, financial planning and membership departments.[5] To mark the 10th anniversary of the merger between the former P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and MoMA, the museum changed its name to MoMA PS1 in 2010.[7]

Later development

In 2008, following the completion of a 10-year merger process with MoMA, Alana Heiss retired as director of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center after 36 years.[8] In 2009, Klaus Biesenbach was named Director of the renamed MoMA PS1. Biesenbach had first joined at PS1 as a curator in 1997, and subsequently held the positions of Curator in MoMA's Department of Film and Media and Chief Curator of MoMA's Department of Media and Performance Art.[8] Biesenbach left the museum for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in July 2018.[9] In June 2019, Kate Fowle was announced as new Director.[10]

Programs, installations, and events

Artist and exhibition programs

From its inception, MoMA PS1 has championed the innovative and the experimental. The premiere exhibition, Rooms, held in June 1976, featured the works of 78 artists, many of whom created site-specific installations in the former classrooms.[11] For Rooms, the sculptor Alan Saret cut a tiny hole in one wall, creating an almost heavenly aureole of light at one end of the third-floor hallway.[6] The museum has featured the works of the artists Janet Cardiff, David Hammons, Kimsooja,[12] Hilma af Klint, Donald Lipski, John McCracken, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alan Saret, Katharina Sieverding, Keith Sonnier, Michael Tracy, Franz West, Maria Lassnig, Judy Rifka, and Peter Young. Its landmark survey of Mike Kelley in 2013 was the largest exhibition of the artist’s work at the time.[13] A focus has been on outsider artists such as Henry Darger, who was included in "Disasters of War: Francisco de Goya, Henry Darger, Jake and Dinos Chapman" (2000).[14] "Greater New York," a survey of emerging artists working in New York City, was established in 2000 and is mounted every five years.[15] Many exhibitions organized by MoMA PS1 travel to museums in the United States and abroad, including collaborations with Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

Throughout its history, MoMA PS1 has routinely organized exhibitions outside of its building, including street performances throughout New York City, projects in the Rockaways, and international exhibitions and projects.

Important exhibitions hosted since the founding of MoMA PS1 in 1976 include:

  • Rooms (June 9–26, 1976)
  • Afro-American Abstraction (February 17 - April 6, 1980)
  • West/East: First Generation Environmental Sculptures (September 28, 1980 - March 14, 1982)
  • New York/New Wave (February 15 - April 5, 1981)
  • The Knot: Arte Povera at P.S. 1 (October 6 - December 15, 1985)
  • James Turrell: "Meeting" (October 26, 1986 - [ongoing])
  • John McCracken: Heroic Stance, A Survey of Sculpture 1965–1986 (October 26 - December 26, 1986)
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto: Division and Multiplication of the Mirror (October 2 - November 27, 1988)
  • Franz West (1989)
  • David Hammons: Rousing the Rubble, 1969 - 1990 (December 16, 1990 - February 10, 1991)
  • Dennis Oppenheim: And the Mind Grew Fingers (December 8, 1991 - February 9, 1992)
  • Jack Smith: Flaming Creature (October 29, 1997 - March 1, 1998)
  • Gordon Matta-Clark: Reorganizing Structure by Drawing Through It (April 26 - August 30, 1998)
  • Inside Out: New Chinese Art (1998)
  • Minimalia: An Italian Vision in 20th Century Art (October 10, 1999 - January 9, 2000)
  • Children of Berlin: Cultural Developments 1989 - 1999 (November 7, 1999 - January 2, 2000)
  • Greater New York (February 27 - May 30, 2000)
  • Disasters of War: Goya, Henry Darger, Jake and Dinos Chapman (Nov 19, 2000 - Feb 25, 2001)
  • Janet Cardiff: A Survey of Works (Oct 14, 2001 - Jan 31, 2002)
  • Mexico City: An Exhibition about the Exchange Rates of Bodies and Values (June 30 - Sept 10, 2002)
  • Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Retrospective (March 12 - June 7, 2004)
  • Katharina Sieverding: Close Up (October 24, 2004 - January 23, 2005)
  • Peter Hujar (October 23, 2005 - April 10, 2006)
  • Into Me/Out of Me (June 25 - September 25, 2006)
  • Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution (February 17 - May 12, 2008)
  • Lutz Bacher My Secret Life (February 12 - September 14, 2009)
  • September 11 (September 11, 2011 - January 9, 2012)
  • Mike Kelley (October 13, 2013 - February 2, 2014)
  • James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography (June 15 - September 7, 2014)
  • Maria Lassnig (March 9 - September 7, 2014)
  • Anne Imhof: DEAL (January 31–March 9, 2015)
  • Greater New York (October 11, 2015–March 7, 2016)
  • Vito Acconci: Where Are We Now (Who Are We Anyway) (June 19–September 18, 2016)
  • Mark Leckey: Containers and Their Drivers (October 23, 2016–March 5, 2017)
  • Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting (October 22, 2017–March 11, 2018)
  • Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts (October 21, 2018–February 25, 2019)

Young Architects Program

The Young Architects Program (YAP) is an annual competition hosted by MoMA PS1 and The Museum of Modern Art that invites young architects to submit design proposals for MoMA PS1's courtyard. The winning entry is converted from concept to construction[16] and becomes the architectural setting for MoMA PS1's summer Warm Up music series.[17]

YAP winners include:

  • 1998 – untitled? by Gelatin'
  • 1999 – DJ Pavilion by Philip Johnson
  • 2000 – Dunescape by SHoP Architects
  • 2001 – Summer Oasis by ROY (principal Lindy Roy)
  • 2002 – Playa Urbana / Urban Beach by William E. Massie
  • 2003 – Light-Wing by EMERGENT (principal, Tom Wiscombe)
  • 2004 – Canopy by nARCHITECTS (principals, Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang)
  • 2005 – SUR by Xefirotarch (principal, Hernan Diaz Alonso)
  • 2006 – BEATFUSE! by Obra Architects[18]
  • 2007 – Liquid Sky by Ball-Nogues Studio[19][20][21]
  • 2008 – Public Farm 1 by WorkAC (principals, Amale Andraos and Dan Wood)
  • 2009 – Afterparty by MOS Architects[22] (principals, Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample[23])
  • 2010 – Pole Dance by Solid-Objectives – Idenburg Liu
  • 2011 – Holding Pattern by Interboro Partners & WHATAMI by stARTT (MAXXI, Rome[24])
  • 2012 – Wendy by HWKN (principals, Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner[25])
  • 2013 – Party Wall by CODA (principal, Caroline O'Donnell[26])
  • 2014 – Hy-Fi by The Living (principal, David Benjamin[27])
  • 2015 – COSMO by Andrés Jaque
  • 2016 – Weaving the Courtyard by Escobedo Soliz Studio
  • 2017 – Lumen by Jenny Sabin Studio
  • 2018 – Hide & Seek by Dream the Combine

Warm Up

Warm Up is MoMA PS1's music series summer event. The series is housed within the architectural installation created by the winner of the annual Young Architects Program. Together, the music, architecture and exhibition program provide a unique multi-sensory experience for music fans, artists, and families alike.[28]

Warm Up was conceived in 1997 as a summer-long dance party to bring new audiences to MoMA PS1 and Long Island City, Queens. The series runs every Saturday from July through early September and draws thousands of local and international visitors each day.

Highlights from the series include a notable group of international DJs and live music ensembles: DJ Harvey, Groove Collective, Afrika Bambaataa, Mad Professor, Richie Hawtin, François K, Fischerspooner, Kid Koala, Arto Lindsay, Scissor Sisters, Luke Vibert, Solange, Jamie XX, Grimes, Arca, Black Dice, Four Tet, DJ Premier, Ritchie Hawtin, Derrick May, Venus X, Cardi B, Lizzo, and many more.

Long-term installations

MoMA PS1 houses several long-term installations throughout the building:[29]

  • Richard Artschwager, Blips, 1976. Location: Throughout MoMA PS1
  • Richard Artschwager, Exit - Don't fight City Hall, 1976. Location: First floor
  • Richard Serra, Untitled, 1976. Location: Rooftop
  • Alan Saret, Hole at PS1: Fifth Solar Chtonich Wall Temple, 1976. Location: Third floor, eastern end of north wing
  • Lawrence Weiner, A bit of matter and a little bit more, 1976. Location: Front door, stenciled on glass
  • James Turrell, Meeting, 1986. Location: Third floor
  • Pipilotti Rist, Selbstlos im Lavabad (Selfless in the Bath of Lava), 1994. Location: Lobby, single-channel video installation
  • Matt Mullican, Untitled, 1997. Location: Steel inset in basement floor
  • Cecily Brown, Untitled, 1997. Location: Staircase B
  • Alexis Rockman, Untitled, 1997. Location: Staircase B
  • Sol LeWitt, Crayola Square, 1999. Location: Basement floor
  • William Kentridge, Stair Procession, 2000. Location: Staircase B
  • Ernesto Caivano, In the Woods. 2004, Location: Staircase A
  • Abigail Lazkoz, Cameraman, 2005. Location: Staircase B
  • Saul Melman, Central Governor, 2010. Location: Basement Boiler Room[30]
  • James Ferraro, Saint Prius, 2014. Location: Throughout MoMA PS1 (and available to download from the museum website)


Under chairwoman Agnes Gund, the MoMA PS1's board of directors includes the artists Cindy Sherman and Mickalene Thomas, art historian Diana Widmaier-Picasso, fashion designer Adam Kimmel, and art collectors Adrian Cheng and Peter Norton.[31] Exhibitions at MoMA PS1 are made possible by the Annual Exhibition Fund, which draws donations from the trustees. As owner of the MoMA PS1 building, New York City contributes to MoMA PS1's annual operating budget.


  1. "Facelift for Queens Museum". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  2. "Profile". MoMA PS1. Retrieved 17 July 2018. MoMA PS1 was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc.
  3. "Long Island City". New York Magazine. Google Books. 11 August 1980. p. 24. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  4. Louie, Elaine (October 2, 1997). "CURRENTS; THE NEW P.S. 1: CONTEMPORARY ART, BUT THE BUILDING'S THE STAR". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  5. Carol Vogel (February 2, 1999), A Museum Merger: The Modern Meets The Ultramodern New York Times.
  6. Roberta Smith (October 31, 1997), Art Review: More Spacious and Gracious, Yet Still Funky at Heart New York Times.
  7. Carol Vogel (April 29, 2010), Tweaking a Name in Long Island City New York Times.
  8. "Museum of Modern Art | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  9. "MoMA PS1's Klaus Biesenbach, a Champion of the Avant-Garde and Celebrities Alike, Will Now Lead MOCA LA". artnet news. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  10. Robin Pogrebin (June 26, 2019), MoMA PS1 Looks to Moscow to Hire New Director New York Times.
  11. Rooms P.S. 1, June 9–26 (New York: The Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc., 1977), 3.
  12. "im Sooja: A Needle Woman July 1–September 16, 2001". MoMA PS1.
  13. Robin Pogrebin (June 26, 2019), MoMA PS1 Looks to Moscow to Hire New Director New York Times.
  14. Carol Vogel (May 31, 2012), MoMA Acquires More Dargers New York Times.
  15. Roberta Smith (May 27, 2010), Take Me Out to the Big Show in Queens New York Times.
  16. "Young Architects Program (YAP)". MoMA. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  17. "Young Architects Program 1999". MoMA. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  18. "Events". Obra. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  19. "Liquid Sky at MoMA PS1 Ball-Nogues Studio". Architect. February 7, 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  20. "A New Sky for P.S. 1" (PDF). The Architects Newspaper. March 30, 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  21. "Liquid Sky, 2007". Sheila Pepe. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  22. "Pavilion, No. 4, MoMA PS1, Afterparty". MOS Architects. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  23. Basulto, David (28 July 2009). "Afterparty, P.S.1 2009 Installation / MOS Architects". ArchDaily. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  24. "Holding Pattern". Interboro.
  25. "Wendy". HOLLWICH KUSHNER ARCHITECTURE DPC. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  26. "Party Wall". CODA. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  27. "Embodied Computation Lab". The Living. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  28. Corsini, Rachel (July 9, 2010). "MoMA PS1 Warms Up Summer in a Cool Way Read more: Brooklyn Downtown Star – MoMA PS1 warms up summer in a cool way". Brooklyn Downtown Star. Retrieved 23 November 2014. PS1's Warm Up parties aren't just parties, however; they are an "experimental exhibition at the museum," said Cindy Hinant, a volunteer coordinator. Not that it isn't a blast, with beer available to those of legal drinking age. You won't find Budweiser here, though. They serve Original Sin Hard Cider and Magic Hat #9, a welcome change from the norm that speaks to the theme of serving the indie community.
  29. "MoMA PS1 Long-Term Installations | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  30. "Saul Melman | Gallery". Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  31. Leon Neyfakh (February 24, 2010), New Blood for P.S.1′s Board of Directors New York Observer.
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