MoMA as Tastemaker
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLAH 4041
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • Visual Culture
The Museum of Modern Art as a Tastemaker explores the history of MoMA in the context of its attempts to shape public taste by facilitating an understanding and acceptance of the International Style. The course examines the architecture and design collection and especially MoMA’s exhibition history to address such issues as the role(s) of museums in the twentieth century and how their histories are presented. Readings are drawn both from official MoMA publications and outside scholarship to distinguish between these points of view. Additionally, students are introduced to the MoMA archives both to familiarize them with the concept of an archive as an object of analysis itself and to offer students the opportunity to carry out in-depth primary research that supports the final research paper. Grades are based on participation (20%), a short critique of one MoMA exhibition (20%), a final presentation (20%), and the final research paper (40%).
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): first-year writing course and at least two prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual cultures. One of these courses should be 3000-level


Open to Undergraduate students.