MoMA’s Summer Campaign Reads Your Mind

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By: Allie Strauss | August 11, 2009

What do “bad-tempered chair,” “she-goat” and “skeletons fighting” have in common?

In the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s recently launched, infographic-style summer advertising campaign, such phrases colloquially and quickly illustrate the museum’s summer art schedule with exhibits from the likes of industrial designer Ron Arad (creator of his own version of the “Well Tempered Chair”), Picasso (his scrap metal animal sculpture is outside at the museum) and expressionist forefather James Ensor (known for satirical paintings of skeleton disputes and sadistic chefs).

“The names of the artwork all together create an image that says something more to people than the artist name or the title of the show does,” explains the museum’s in-house creative director, Julia Hoffman. “We have so many events going on this summer and needed something that would quickly get people’s attentions and appeal to their affinities.”

Aimed at luring New Yorkers to the museum during the summer months, “an audience who does a crossword to relax,” according to art director August Heffner, the candy-colored, 60s-inspired graphics of the print campaign are accompanied by the online A new feature for the museum, it’s a personalized website fit for the hectic New York lifestyle, paring down MoMA’s 350 summer events into a one-day pie chart.

Using the same “mind reader” website software from gargantuan music festival Bonaroo that helped concert-goers plan their show line-up, MoMA’s site links to the user’s Facebook profile to plan a personal museum itinerary. Interests in, say, San Diego and Freud and a degree in art history illicit buzz words “sunshine” (head to the sculpture garden), “enlightenment” (check out the “Gallery talk: MoMA’s Evolution through Architecture”), and “Guimard” (take a gander at Hector Guimard’s “Entrance Gate to Paris Metropolitan Station”). And all of this pictured in an editable chart accompanied by an overwhelming expandable list of all the museum has to offer—a daunting events calendar for any busy New Yorker to sort through alone.

Buzzwords we like: After Party (Exhibition: Young Architects Program 2009, through September 14), Good Design (Exhibition: What was good design? MoMA’s Message 1944-56, through November 30), Birdpeople (Film: The Raftman’s Razor; The Birdpeople).