Artist’s Choice: Yto Barrada—A Raft
May 8, 2021–January 9, 2022
MoMA, Floor 4 & 5

The Museum of Modern Art announces Artist’s Choice: Yto Barrada—A Raft, an exhibition of works from MoMA’s collection selected by Barrada (b. 1971), an artist known for her multidisciplinary investigations of cultural phenomena and historical narratives. On view from May 8, 2021, to January 9, 2022, the exhibition brings together works in two galleries, one on the fourth floor and one on the fifth floor, connected by their own staircase, highlighting over 60 works from MoMA’s collection. Artist’s Choice: Yto Barrada—A Raft is organized by Yto Barrada with Lucy Gallun, Associate Curator, and River Encalada Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.

In this latest edition of MoMA’s Artist’s Choice exhibition series, Barrada gathers works from the Museum’s collection that resonate with the ideas and work of the French social work pioneer and writer Fernand Deligny (1913–1996). Barrada’s exploration centers on Deligny’s work from the late 1960s, when he lived together with other volunteers and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an informal network in rural France; this was an attempt to create a new way of living “outside language,” adapted for the nonverbal children. Deligny called this network “a raft,” envisioning it as lightweight and maneuverable and requiring constant maintenance—an alternative to the “cargo ships” of the psychiatric institutions. Particularly resonant today, Deligny’s emancipatory ideas are being rediscovered widely, by philosophers, psychoanalysts, anthropologists, filmmakers, and artists.

Renewed interest in Deligny’s life’s work is largely due to his publishers Sandra Alvarez de Toledo and Anaïs Masson, Barrada’s longtime friends with whom she has collaborated closely on this exhibition. For Barrada, “Deligny’s search for new maps and modes of being represent a vital heritage for artists.” In bringing together selected works by artists including Anni Albers, Vito Acconci, Louise Bourgeois, Lygia Clark, David Hammons, and Bruce Nauman with films, maps, writings, and photographs that document Deligny’s revolutionary project, Barrada invites audiences to consider art in relationship to language, in ways that might inspire beyond the exhibition.

Artist’s Choice: Yto Barrada—A Raft will be accompanied by a film program on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema, as well as other digital elements available in May and June via


The Artist’s Choice exhibition series is made possible through The Agnes Gund Artist’s Choice Fund endowed by Iara Lee and George Gund III, Lulie and Gordon Gund, Ann and Graham Gund, and Sarah and Geoffrey Gund.

Major support is provided by The Modern Women’s Fund.

Additional funding is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.

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