Exhibition Challenges the Authority of Mainstream Documentation and Questions Its Role in Constructing History.

From April 2 through September 27, 2021, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Off the Record, a group exhibition featuring prints, photographs, and paintings who challenge the authority of mainstream documentation and question its role in constructing history. The 13 artists include Sadie Barnette, Sarah Charlesworth, Sara Cwynar, Leslie Hewitt, Glenn Ligon, Carlos Motta, Lisa Oppenheim, Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, Sable E. Smith, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems, whose works have been assembled from the museum’s collection. The presentation will also include a painting on loan by Tomashi Jackson.

Off the Record is organized by Ashley James, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art.

Historical, documentary, state, and other records became the collectively accepted communicators of “truth” through their perceived objectivity and comprehensiveness. They presumably tell a story from a place of remove, with all relevant details included. Off the Record confronts this pretense, bringing together the work of contemporary artists who interrogate, revise, or otherwise query dominant narratives and the transmission of culture through official “records.”

Drawn from the context of journalist reportage, the phrase “off the record” here refers to accounts that have been left out of mainstream narratives. The exhibition’s title can also be understood in its verb form: to undermine or “kill” the record as a gesture of redress. Across various manipulations of “records,” artists in this exhibition seek to call out the power dynamics obscured by official documentation, complicate the idea of objectivity and truth, and surface new narrative possibilities.

Exhibition: Off the Record
Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York
Location: Tower Level 2
Dates: April 2–September 27, 2021

Public Programs

A variety of public programs will be presented both at the museum and online in conjunction with Off the Record, including a talk between Ashley James and exhibition artist Tomashi Jackson that will be posted to the museum’s YouTube channel in the spring.


The Leadership Committee for Off the Record is gratefully acknowledged for its support, with special thanks to Noel E. D. Kirnon and Ann and Mel Schaffer.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.

Visitor Information

Admission: Adults $25, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free. Open Thursdays through Mondays from 11 am to 6 pm. Pay What You Wish hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 6 pm. Timed tickets are required and available at guggenheim.org/tickets. Explore the Guggenheim with our free Digital Guide, a part of the Bloomberg Connects app. Find it in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store.

The Guggenheim is implementing health and safety measures in consideration of visitors and employees and in compliance with New York State and City guidelines. Face masks will be mandatory inside the museum for anyone over the age of two. New requirements should be reviewed in advance of a visit; they are posted on COVID-19 Safety Measures: What to Expect When Visiting.