No visit to New York City is complete without a visit to MoMA. From quietly contemplating a single work, to watching live performances, you’ll find something unexpected and inspiring during your visit. Explore the expanded galleries and spaces for performance, conversation, and art making, you’ll see more art in new ways. Get ready to discover new voices and fresh perspectives.
Here are the highlights of this season>
Energy - Through January 26, 2020
Energy is the indispensable fuel of life for all species. For humans, it has become almost an addiction. The search for new sources of energy and the exploitation of existing ones have driven progress, formed and informed cultures, transfigured landscapes, and ignited wars. Throughout the 20th century, everything from objects to buildings and entire cities was conceived to maximize immediate output and productivity. Modern architecture and design were powered by electricity, and linked to energy production and distribution. In order to secure energy, we have deforested, drilled, mined, extracted, removed mountaintops, and terraformed the planet.
In the 21st century, many designers have become aware of their role and responsibility in these disruptive activities, and have adjusted their practices accordingly. If in the past design led us to devour energy at an ever-growing rate, design can now help us conserve it and behave more responsibly. The objects presented here engage with energy in its myriad forms—from thermal and kinetic to electrical and even reproductive. They represent its sourcing, deployment, consumption, and preservation. They showcase the technological advancements of the past decades, while proposing alternatives for a future in which resources might not be as readily available.
Organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Anna Burckhardt, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.
Betye Saar - The Legends of Black Girl’s Window
Through January 4, 2020
After nearly a decade of focused work in printmaking, artist Betye Saar created her autobiographical assemblage Black Girl’s Window in 1969. This exhibition explores the relation between her experimental print practice and the new artistic language debuted in that famous work, tracing themes of family, history, and mysticism, which have been at the core of Saar’s work from its earliest days. Celebrating the recent acquisition of 42 rare, early works on paper, this is the first dedicated examination of Saar’s work as printmaker.
Organized by Christophe Cherix, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints, and Esther Adler, Associate Curator, with Ana Torok, Curatorial Assistant, and Nectar Knuckles, Curatorial Fellow, Department of Drawings and Prints.
Sur modern - Journeys of Abstraction - The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift
Through March 14, 2020
Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift is drawn primarily from the paintings, sculptures, and works on paper donated to the Museum by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. This extraordinarily comprehensive collection provides the foundation for a journey through the history of abstract and concrete art from South America at mid-century. The exhibition explores the transformative power of abstraction in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay, focusing on both the way that artists reinvented the art object itself and the role of art in the renewal of the social environment.
Organized by Inés Katzenstein, Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America, The Museum of Modern Art, and consulting curator María Amalia García, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)–Universidad Nacional de San Martín, with Karen Grimson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.
Taking a Thread for a Walk - Through April 19, 2020
Anni Albers wrote in 1965, “Just as it is possible to go from any place to any other, so also, starting from a defined and specialized field, can one arrive at a realization of ever-extending relationships . . . traced back to the event of a thread.”
Such events quietly brought about some of modern art’s most intimate and communal breakthroughs, challenging the widespread marginalization of weaving as “women’s work.” In Albers’s lifetime, textiles became newly visible as a creative discipline—one closely interwoven with the practices of architecture, industrial design, drawing, and sculpture. A key driver for the development of new languages for woven forms was the emergence of interdisciplinary educational institutions such as the Bauhaus school of art and design, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and Black Mountain College. These schools championed experiential learning—or learning through doing—an approach that had been in part inspired by progressive early-childhood teaching models of the 19th century.
True to its title, this exhibition takes a thread for a walk among ancient textile traditions, early-20th-century design reform movements, and industrial materials and production methods. Featuring adventurous combinations of natural and synthetic fibers and spatially dynamic pieces that mark the emergence of more a sculptural approach to textile art beginning in the 1960s, this show highlights the fluid expressivity of the medium.
Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.
Haegue Yang - Handles - Through April 12, 2020
Haegue Yang (Korean, b. 1971) is known for genre-defying, multimedia installations that interweave a range of materials and methods, historical references, and sensory experiences. Handles, Yang’s installation commissioned for MoMA’s Marron Atrium, features six sculptures activated daily, dazzling geometries, and the play of light and sound, to create a ritualized, complex environment with both personal and political resonance.
Handles are points of attachment and material catalysts for movement and change. Yang’s installation considers this everyday interface between people and things. Steel grab bars are mounted on the walls amid an iridescent pattern, and put to functional use in her sculptures. These monumental works come in distinctive shapes: some are inspired by the work of early 20th-century figures such as artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp and mystic philosopher G. I. Gurdjieff, and others use open-source designs for door handles to produce freestanding bodies at once futuristic and prehistoric. Mounted on casters and covered in skins of bells, the sculptures generate a subtle rattling sound when maneuvered by performers, and recall the use of bells in shamanistic rites, among other sources. The natural ambient noise of birdsong, which also permeates the space, was in fact recorded at a tense political moment in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea during the historic summit in 2018. Reporters strained to hear the private conversation between the two nations’ leaders, but their audio devices only picked up the chirping of birds and the faint click of cameras.
Handles draws on Yang’s in-depth research into various sources, ranging from vernacular craft traditions to the historical avant-garde, esoteric spiritual philosophies to contemporary political events. She integrates these seemingly disparate narratives into an artistic language uniquely her own, offering a fresh take on modernism and a critical reading of its legacy.
Organized by Stuart Comer, The Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance, Department of Media and Performance, with Taylor Walsh, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints; performances produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Producer, and Kate Scherer, Manager, with Stavia Grimani, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.
Theater of Operations - The Gulf Wars 1991–2011
Through March 1, 2020
American-led military engagement in Iraq over the last 30 years has had an indelible impact on contemporary culture and the work of artists around the world. This large-scale group exhibition examines the legacies of these conflicts beginning with the Gulf War in 1991, featuring over 300 works by more than 80 artists based in Iraq and its diasporas, as well as those responding to the war from the West.
While brief, the 1991 Gulf War marked the start of a prolonged conflict with Iraq that led to more than a decade of sanctions and the 2003 Iraq War. These wars and their aftermaths have had devastating impacts on Iraq and its people, contributing to the destabilization of the broader Middle East. Conflict with Iraq has also become an enduring part of American life, influencing culture, politics, and identity.
The artists in Theater of Operations were also impacted by significant cultural change during this period—including the advent of the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet, and new media and military technologies. The wide range of perspectives included in this exhibition attests to the rich artistic traditions of contemporary Iraq, with artists working under conditions of war, embargo, and occupation placed in conversation with those responding to these wars from afar.
Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 is organized by Peter Eleey, Chief Curator, and Ruba Katrib, Curator, MoMA PS1; with Jocelyn Miller, Assistant Curator; Josephine Graf, Curatorial Assistant; and Oliver Shultz, former Curatorial Associate.