At the center of the Museum of Modern Art’s most recent expansion lies a complete rethinking of their well-known approach to showing works of art. Where in the past their galleries were organized by medium, genre or artist, now they are organized by time period and thematic subject, thus revealing formal, stylistic and philosophical reverberations that cut across both media and traditions. From the perspective of exhibition design, this means that objects and works of art of varying sizes and media are presented side-by-side in spaces ranging in height between 14’ – 25’, both on walls and in open space.
Lighting under these various conditions is a technical challenge; one that is only compounded by art conservation practices that prescribe stringent light levels based on medium. Consequently, galleries may have light levels ranging anywhere from 2 – 50 foot-candles on objects that range drastically in materials, sizes, colors and textures. Among these items, there are rare and delicate works on paper, watercolors, paintings, monumental sculptures, mixed media installations, textiles, architectural models, and countless other objects of art that run the gamut of human creative endeavor.
The seamless illumination of the new MoMA galleries is a testament to the skill and talent of the Exhibition and Lighting teams involved in their design and execution. Traditionally, complex lighting schemes like those executed at MoMA might require a minimum of eight unique luminaires, a plethora of optical media and a cornucopia of light sources of differing intensities and beam-spreads.
The field adjustable variable beam angle optic of the C71 allows lighting designers and installers to easily and accurately illuminate a variety of objects of different sizes with precise focus control, while localized on-board dimming provides nuanced light level settings. Its counterpart, the C72 wallwasher, produces even floor to ceiling illumination which provides the main layer of light for wall-hung art, as well as an overall light backdrop for interior spaces that range from intimate to massive. At only 3” diameter, and with an effective application range of up to 25 ft, Litelab’s Cylinder Series meets the performance needs of MoMA’s new and dynamic lighting environment.