MOMA Life Cycles The Materials of Contemporary Design

MOMA’s “Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design” Exhibition is Coming to an End but Its Ideas Must Stay

Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design exhibition at New York’s MOMA, which has been open to the public since September 2023, is coming to an end. However, you still have a chance to witness the art objects by 63 artists presented at one of the world’s greatest museums till 7 July 2024.

MOMA Life Cycles The Materials of Contemporary Design
Photo credit: Robert Gerhardt

Organized by senior curator Paola Antonelli and curatorial assistant Maya Ellerkmann, this exhibition has been a success. Rightfully so, as in the age of sustainability and mindful living the idea of creating art that collaborates with the natural world is bound to receive praise and interest from the art connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

MOMA Life Cycles The Materials of Contemporary Design
Photo credit: Robert Gerhardt

The idea behind Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design is simple and clear to unite all living organisms and ecosystems by using scientific, technological, and social revolutions. It is shown through emphasizing the materials’ life cycles that the objects are made. Why throw away something that can be turned into art? For example, cow manure from the streets of Indonesia can be turned into casings for loudspeakers and lamps, or crop waste and fungi mycelium into bricks. To impress you even further, there are honeycomb vases fabricated by the bees.

MOMA Life Cycles The Materials of Contemporary Design
Photo credit: Robert Gerhardt

Oftentimes, when thinking of elegant design, we think of technological innovation, forgetting that we should be focusing on ways to repair our wonderful planet. That is precisely what this exhibition will demonstrate.

As it displays around 80 works, most of them from the museum’s permanent collection, it pays tribute to the potential that recycled and waste materials can have for the contemporary art scene. Reexamining our own beliefs, as well as stigmas regarding what can be considered high-end and luxurious.

MOMA Life Cycles The Materials of Contemporary Design
Photo credit: Robert Gerhardt

“Design can be an agent of positive change and play a crucial part in restoring the fragile ties between humans and the rest of nature. The materials with which objects are made, and our cultural attitudes toward them — as designers and as citizens — lead this evolutionary process.”

– senior curator Paola Antonelli