MoMA Art Lab

A hands-on learning space at the Museum of Modern Art that allowed visitors of all ages to learn how movement manifests itself in art

Panoramic shot of MoMA Art Lab, which includes a Calder mobile activity

Overview

While at MoMA’s education department, I co-developed MoMA Art Lab: Movement, an interactive space that invites kids and adults to play, make, and experiment. This iteration of the Art Lab, which receives over 30,000 visitors every year, ran from October through August 2013. Through a number of digital and analog activities, visitors learned about:

  • How artists represent movement
  • How artists, filmmakers, and others create the perception of movement
  • Art objects that move
  • Design objects that are used for moving and transportation
  • How artists move their bodies to make marks
  • How contemporary artists have incorporated performance and dance into their work

Role

I was responsible for conceptualizing the themes and activities, writing and editing educational texts, and working with museum departments and outside partners to design and implement installations and furnishings.

Approach

We came up with a number of design principles to inform MoMA Art Lab: Movement:

  • Interactive learning is for everyone: Allow for a wide range of ages, from infants to adults, to engage
  • People learn in different ways: Create multi-modal experiences that engage different senses and range from passive to active
  • Solo and social: Allow for both group and individual play
  • Learn from how our visitors learn: Iterate and test activities with visitors of different ages

Armed with these principles, we developed a suite of digital and analog activities to engage and delight audiences.

A kid adds shapes to an Alexander Calder-inspired mobile
Visitors explored balance and movement in sculptural work by adding shapes onto an Alexander Calder-inspired mobile
One kid holds a thaumatrope while a friend looks on
Kids and adults designed thaumatropes, optical toys popular in the early 19th century that provided an illusion of motion
A child and a woman play with tinker toys
In the foreground, a family designs a vehicle that moves; in the background, we see an Abstract Expressionist-inspired gesture painting that a visitor created by using a Nintendo Wii controller
A girl arranges objects in front of her. Above the objects is a camera rig and on her right is an iPad
At the Stop Motion Animation Station, a girl explores how many still images can be combine to create a moving picture

Related

MoMA Art Lab: Movement blog post
MoMA Art Lab: Movement exhibition page on MoMA.org