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Television Movies: Big Pictures on the Small Screen

February 19, 2020 – February 28, 2020

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and the MoMA Stores in New York City have closed temporarily. 

“Should an archive of filmed programs and kinescopes be set up in emulation of the Film Library?” pondered Richard Griffith, Curator of MoMA’s Film Library, on the eve of the Museum’s first television retrospective in 1963. That series, titled Television U.S.A.: Thirteen Seasons, comprehensively reviewed the short history of the medium through American network broadcasts, including a number of live feature-length plays that were the precursors of the made-for-TV movie. Though a television archive was ultimately decided against, the Department of Film has acquired numerous television programs in the 56 years since that reflect the changing understanding and perception of the form and its medium. This series seeks to bring the Department of Film’s collection of television movies back into the public eye, re-examining titles shown in the 1963 retrospective alongside more contemporary works that overall helped push television as an artistic force to be taken seriously.

Organized by Theo Harrison, Film Traffic Coordinator, Department of Film, with Emily Rago

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art. 



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Tosca. 1955. USA. Directed by Kirk Browning. Courtesy Photofest.

Present Laughter. 1967. Great Britain. Directed by Gordon Flemyng. Courtesy Everett Collection.

Meantime. 1983. Great Britain. Directed by Mike Leigh.

Inside. 1996. United States. Directed by Arthur Penn.

The Glass Menagerie. 1973. USA. Directed by Anthony Harvey.

The Trip to Bountiful. 1953. USA. Directed by Vincent J. Donehue. Courtesy NBC/Photofest.

Le petit théâtre de Jean Renoir. 1970. Italy, France. Directed by Jean Renoir

Angst vor der Angst (Fear of Fear). 1975. Federal Republic of Germany. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.