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backstory50: On display at the Museum of Modern Art

This is one of my favorite stories because it connects our campus to another great institution, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling you about the architecture of the campus and of the Museum. Well, back in 1971, MoMA held an exhibition entitled Architecture for the Arts: The State University of New York at Purchase. The show highlighted Edward Larrabee Barnes’ master plan and featured models of the burgeoning campus. Its buildings were designed by some of the best-known architects of the day, including Architects Collaborative, Gunnar Birkerts, Johnson/Burgee, Paul Rudolph, and Venturi and Rausch. 

There were many connections between MoMA and those who founded the Neuberger Museum of Art: Abby Rockefeller, one of MOMA’s founders, was the mother of New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller—the architect of the SUNY system who came up with the idea for an arts campus at Purchase. Philip Johnson had been the founding director of MOMA’s Architecture and Design department before he became architect of the Museum’s building. And Roy Neuberger had already been a patron of MoMA as early as the 1950s, donating works and providing acquisition funds for MoMA to purchase works including Hedda Sterne’s New York VIII (1954) and Adolph Gottlieb’s Voyager’s Return (1946).

Today’s 50th anniversary thank-you goes to Nelson Rockefeller, Roy Neuberger, and all those whose vision led to the establishment of the Museum as a center to enrich the life of both the college and the local community. The model of the campus they envisioned is on display now in the Klein Gallery as you enter the Museum.

Tracy Fitzpatrick
Director, Neuberger Museum of Art

Orange square with a white border and large numbers 50 with small letters neu overlapping the top of the 5 and the word Years beneath

Watch for a new backstory every Wednesday and follow us on social media as we share stories about the Museum’s history, our evolution to the present day, and look ahead to our exciting future. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and “NEU 50 Years” updates on our anniversary webpage.