Quay Brothers Retrospective Coming to MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York continues to be one of the most animation friendly museums in the US. This week they announced an exhibition and accompanying film retrospective celebrating the work of the 64-year-old identical twin animators Stephen and Timothy Quay, better known as the Brothers Quay. The show, “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets,” opens on August 8, 2012. The show is being organized by Ron Magliozzi, who has also co-curated MoMA’s hit exhibitions on Tim Burton and Pixar. More from MoMA’s website:

Internationally renowned moving image artists and designers, the Quay Brothers were born outside Philadelphia and have worked from their London studio, Atelier Koninck, since the late 1970s. For over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition of filmmakers like Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Svankmajer and the Russian Yuri Norstein, and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Beginning with their student films in 1971, the Quay Brothers have produced over 45 moving image works, including two features, music videos, dance films, documentaries, and signature personal works, including The Street of Crocodiles (1986), the Stille Nacht series (1988—2008), Institute Benjamenta (1995), and In Absentia (2000). They have also designed sets and projections for opera, drama, and concert performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991), Ionesco’s The Chairs (Tony-nominated design, 1997), Richard Ayre’s The Cricket Recovers (2005), and recent site-specific pieces based on the work of Bartók and Kafka.

In addition to their better known films, this exhibition will include never-before-seen moving image works and graphic design, drawings, and calligraphy, presenting animated and live-action films alongside installations, objects, and works on paper.


  • Del Cano

    I also saw an excellent exhibition on william kentridge’s animations there a couple years ago (during marina abramovic’s big show)

  • http://artnote.blog.com Stephen

    Their films are fascinating. MoMA’s film program is outstanding.

  • beamish13

    This should be incredible. I’m dying to see their early graphic design work, as I love the illustrations they contributed to the first edition of Anthony Burgess’ novel THE CLOCKWORK TESTAMENT, or ENDERBY’S END.

  • http://www.kustomonsters.com Craig Clark

    When I was in the band Chorus of Souls we shared space with the band Tool when the band was just forming. We would all gather around and watch Quay Brothers animation tapes. Quay Brothers stop motion projects would later inform the award winning Tool music videos. Should be a good show for MOMA.

  • http://artnote.blog.com Stephen

    The photo appears to be of the making of Street of Crocodiles. I wish MoMA was producing a catalog to go with this.