MoMA: de Kooning
Currently on-view at the Museum of Modern Art, de Kooning: A Retrospective is the first posthumous exhibition devoted to the full scope of Willem de Kooning’s prolific career. In a breathtaking array of nearly 200 works, the exhibition tracks the artist’s development over a full seven decades. Needless to say when the MoMA asked us to architect and design the website for this landmark event, we were thrilled and honored.
Our goal for this particular project was to devise a scheme to showcase the complexity and breadth of de Kooning’s artistic achievements in as concise a manner as suitable for such an extensive career – both visually and structurally. The website, catalogue and exhibition design were all being developed concurrently, so our main source of inspiration came from the artist himself – from images of him in his studio to the works themselves. After getting a sneak peek of some initial designs of the catalogue, we were instantly struck by a stunning photograph of de Kooning from the back of the book. It captured the essence of the artist in such an incredible way, that we felt there was no better centerpiece for the home page of the website.
In order to let the richness of the work stand out, everything else was kept very minimal and simple, with a color palette distilled from the selected collection of works. The website’s architecture, developed in partnership with our friends at Redub LLC and Type/Code, enhances user experience by categorizing the works according to theme, period, and chronology. Emphasizing the extremely varied approach during different points of his career, it also enables the viewer to see de Kooning’s work within various contexts. Through the application of honest design and straightforward usability, we hope the website will continue to function as a gateway for both the exhibition at MoMA, and for de Kooning; that it will encourage viewers to look at him anew, with even greater admiration as one of the most important artists of the modern period.
- User Experience + Information Architecture
- Art Direction + Design
- Front- and Back-end Development
Not even for a million dollars would I paint a tree.”
– Willem de Kooning, 1968.