The point, though commonplace, cannot be made too often: for works of art to reveal themselves to the fullest, installation matters above all. Placement, lighting, the size and shape of the room, even the character of the floor and color of the walls—all these affect the way we perceive a painting, sculpture, drawing, or photograph. Nowhere is the truth of this principle more evident than at the Museum of Modern Art’s new temporary installation of its sculptures by Constantin Brancusi.1

Going back at least to the 1970s, when I began visiting moma on a regular basis, successive curators have always displayed Brancusi the same way: a half-dozen or so sculptures...


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