As our devices like to remind us, we spend a huge portion of our lives in digital worlds. The interfaces we use to access them—from Zoom to FaceTime, WhatsApp to Discord, Roblox to Fortnite—are visual and tactile manifestations of code that both connect and separate us, and shape the way we behave and perceive others. Yet like other ubiquitous tools, interfaces are seldom recognized as design. This exhibition brings together notable examples of interaction design, a field that considers the points of contact between objects—whether machines, apps, or entire infrastructures—and people.
In addition to showcasing the paintings Spectrum IV (1967) and Chatham VI (1971), this exhibition provides the rare chance to see Sculpture for a Large Wall, which Kelly made for the lobby of Philadelphia’s Transportation Building in 1957. It features 104 quadrilateral aluminum panels suspended between double rows of horizontal rods, which allow each panel to be positioned upright or tilted at an angle. It was created nearly a decade into Kelly’s career, when the artist had begun to dream of making work that functioned at the intersection of art and architecture. MoMA’s celebration of Kelly’s centennial continues in Gallery 416: Ellsworth Kelly’s Sketchbooks, which highlights the artist’s process on paper.
Image: Ellsworth Kelly. Spectrum IV. 1967. Oil on canvas, 13 panels. / courtesy of MoMA