This article explores the passage into the museum of one particular iteration of the new through the exhibition The New Art, held at the Hayward Gallery London in 1972. This exhibition has come to be regarded as a highly significant, indeed inaugural, museum showing of British conceptual art. The majority of its exhibitors were sculptors or had an affiliation to sculpture. The article charts how, through a series of compromises, the exhibition was realised. It examines the various agents who brought the exhibition into being, exploring the changing roles and priorities of artists, curatorial and other museum professionals. It considers changes in the museum as an institution, as works moved from temporary exhibition to permanent collection. It argues for this particular moment as one of marked porosity between the museum and gallery and between the world inside and outside the art institution. The article explores how what Boris Groys has termed ‘the museum-trained gaze’ was exercised in relation to a new body of art work and in relation to changing roles in the museum. The New Art was, it is argued, an exhibition where what was going on outside the exhibition was as interesting as what happened in the exhibition.