Through the 40-year legacy of the New Museum, the Digital Archive tells the history of contemporary art, its early days as a radical departure from modernism to its global present. The Digital Archive narrates the history of the New Museum, through the works of the hundreds of pioneering artists who have been exhibited, and tells a larger story about the dramatic changes in art at the end of the twentieth century that have laid the ground for culture and emerging art today. Since 1977, the New Museum has been at the forefront of presenting contemporary art and cultural practice. It is Manhattan’s only dedicated contemporary art museum that works actively with living artists.
Leading with its mission “New Art, New Ideas”—the Museum is recognized internationally for the ambitious scope of its curatorial program, in addition to its innovative leadership in the field of art and technology. As a non-collecting institution, the New Museum’s programmatic background and resulting documentation serve as the primary materials in its archival collection, forming its historical footprint. The Museum’s physical archive contains printed matter, photographic materials and other ephemera, which are being digitized and added on an on-going basis to a growing digital collection. As it stands, the Digital Archive contains over 10,000 objects (images, video, audio) spanning forty years of the Museum’s existence. It is a searchable online database of media from over 5,500 artists, curators, and organizations who have enriched the institution’s history over the decades.