Location: New York, NY
Where in the past, galleries were organized by medium, genre, or artist, now they are organized by time period and thematic subject, 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.
At the center of the Museum of Modern Art’s most recent expansion lies a complete rethinking of their approach to showing works of art: organizing galleries by time period and thematic subject as opposed to by medium or artist. 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 compounded by art conservation practices. Galleries may have light levels ranging anywhere from 2 – 50 foot-candles on objects that range drastically in materials, sizes, colors and textures.
To accommodate this new approach, Litelab worked with MoMA, Renfro Design Group, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler to develop a host of custom solutions. All of the galleries utilize a custom recessed, Unistrut BusRun designed for use in ½” gypsum with fully regressed Emergency Luminaires developed for use in ceilings ranging from 14’ – 24’. The Temporary Exibition galleries also include a complete building system integration platform, or “TechSlot,” that combines power distribution, HVAC supply and return, data for hidden security cameras and Emergency Lighting.
But the chef d’oeuvres are the C71 and C72 luminaires that light all of the galleries. Developed over the course of 3 years, the C71 and C72 provide high output and industry-leading CRI with a proprietary zoom optic, in a minimalist 3” diameter cylinder. With effective ranges between 12’ and 24’, and close to 1:1 wallwashing, these diminutive fixtures practically disappear into the ceilings. Every fixture also includes on-board dimming, to accommodate the incredible range of light intensities required for the diverse collections exhibited in each gallery.
The MoMA Expansion represents a triumph of ingenuity and
creativity, from the new exhibition paradigm that has driven much of
this innovation, to the technologies that support it.