Criteria/What we’re looking for:
How will we select works for Talk to Me and frame them within the wider mission of The Museum of Modern Art? When it comes to selecting objects for MoMA, there are no hard and fast rules, but there are several criteria that come into play in the discussion:
Form and Meaning. Certainly an important criterion in an art museum, and yet an elusive and subjective one, beauty is today tied to meaning. Objects have to communicate values that go well beyond their formal–and functional—presence, starting from the designer’s idea and intention. The best objects embody these concepts in a transparent way.
Function and Meaning. Just like form, function has also changed dramatically in the last few decades. Some objects are designed to provide certain emotions, feelings, and inspiration, and these aspects are also considered part of their functional makeup.
Innovation. Good designers take scientific and technological revolutions and transform them into objects that anybody can use. Curators are constantly for objects that solve new problems or address old ones in a new way, as well as for objects that introduce new and promising forms, materials, or structures.
Cultural Impact. MoMA has always privileged objects that, whether mass-marketed or developed experimentally in a designer’s workshop, have the power to influence and touch the greatest number of people. Their impact can be either direct, effective the minute they get purchased and brought into people’s lives, or building up in time through the inspiration they give to other designers.
Process. Curators—and people—do not take objects at face value, anymore. The way they are designed and built; the economy of means evident in their production, distribution, and use; the way the address complexity by celebrating simplicity; Respect and honesty in use of materials. Consideration of the entire life cycle of the product.
Necessity. Here comes the ultimate litmus test: if this object had never been designed and manufactured, would the world miss out, even just a bit? As disarming as this question might seem, it really works. Try it at home.