The Museum of Modern Art was never intended to be merely a depository for artistic treasures. It was conceived as an institution that would work in and with the community, vigorously participating in its life.
Within the Museum's structure the collection is an intrinsic and important factor. It contributes constantly to all the Museum's varied and far-flung activities, As it grew in scope and excellence it became more and more capable of setting standards and providing a sense of continuity to the activities of the various departments of the Museum. By demonstrating the vast variety of styles and concepts so characteristic of modern art in the recent past, it makes for an open mind and helps keep the institution receptive to new trends. On the other hand, nearly all departmental activities contributed to the development of the collection. Not only did many works of art come to the Museum's attention through these non-academic climate and kept the Museum close to the realities of today's art life.
Over the years the Museum has organized some 820 exhibitions in all branches of the modern visual arts and their relevant background. It has established a circulating service to bring these exhibitions to other cities in the United States and more recently it has embarked on a broad program of international interchange of exhibitions on a world-wide basis.
In order to give its work permanence and make it accessible to the widest possible public, the Museum has published an extended series of books on its various exhibitions and other subjects, some of which have been translated for distribution in foreign countries. The Museum has conducted competitions to fill specific needs in industrial and graphic design and has participated in the efforts of industry to raise the artistic standards of its products. It has served as an influential laboratory and clearing house in art education.
The Museum's library is more than just a collection of reference books. It has become a world center for bibliographic research in the Museum's field.
The Museum has done much to establish the artistic importance of photography and motion pictures and, through its film library, has rescued much valuable material from destruction. Most recently it has, in collaboration with the industry, embarked on a project in the field of television in the hope of rendering this newest medium of visual mass communications a service comparable to that rendered to the motion picture industry.
Thus the Museum during its twenty-five years of growth has played an important role in the cultural life of the city, the nation, and the world.
RENÉ D'HARNONCOURT Director of the Museum