Kamala Ibrahim Ishag. Untitled, 1980/1990. Oil on canvas. 70 7/8 × 69 11/16″ (180 × 177 cm). Gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis in honor of Jean Pigozzi. Painting & Sculpture 51.2021
MoMA Offers Visitors Safe Ways to Engage with the Museum Both in Person and Online
The Museum of Modern Art announces another dynamic transformation of its collection galleries through Fall Reveal, opening on October 30, 2021. Conceived by cross-departmental teams of curators at all levels of seniority, the Fall Reveal will feature more than 350 newly installed works of art, across 13 galleries—six of which are featured below. This new presentation continues a year of constant renewal across all three collection floors, introducing audiences to new artists, works, and galleries during the spring and summer of 2021. The Museum curatorial staff continues to break new ground as it explores the relationships among works of art displayed in dynamic and new contexts.
The new MoMA opened on October 21, 2019, with a collection model that highlights the creative affinities and frictions produced by displaying painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, media, performance, film, and works on paper together. Recognizing that there is no single or complete history of modern and contemporary art, the Museum offers a deeper experience of art through all mediums and by artists from more diverse geographies and backgrounds than ever before. The curators have emphasized new voices, new acquisitions, and new perspectives on well-known works that have been in the collection for decades. The Museum continues to prioritize the collection display in its expanded spaces and honors its commitment to share with the public a greater variety of its vast holdings on a seasonally rotating basis.
Fifth Floor, 1880s–1940
Motion and Illumination (Gallery 501) highlights how artists in the late 19th century allowed new lens based technologies to influence how they perceived and preserved the happenings of their age. Photography and cinema were perfectly suited to capture the spontaneous pleasures of everyday life. For the first time in MoMA’s history, lens-based works like American Mutoscope and Biograph Company’s film The Flying Train (1902) will be installed in the first gallery on the Fifth floor.
As a product of the Industrial Revolution, photography was modern from the start. Much like locomotion and electricity, it introduced a new way of seeing the world—a form of vision that was mediated by machines. Some artists, awed by the speed of railway travel, made works depicting the blurred landscapes they witnessed from train windows, like Edgar Degas and his Green Landscape (c. 1890). Others favored domestic interiors, using newly available gas and electric table lamps like those designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany to flood their scenes with light. Still others, such as Brassaï and Charles Marville, wandered the city of Paris, photographing and filming its dazzling illumination as dusk fell.
“The miracle and menace of technological advances have been embraced and augmented by artists and designers throughout the modern era,” says Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film. Clément Chéroux, the Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography, adds, “The early, pioneering works presented in Gallery 501 show how, at the turn of the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution changed the way of seeing and representing the world, pointing toward the century of exuberant creative invention to come.”
Gallery 516 features Badge of Honor by Pépon Osorio (b. 1955, Puerto Rico), a large-scale video installation recently acquired by the Museum and on view for the first time. The installation breaks chronology on the fifth floor, showcasing a contemporary work in the circuit typically devoted to modern art from the 1880s through the 1940s. Badge of Honor emerged from Osorio’s experiences in a predominantly Puerto Rican, working class neighborhood in Newark in the 1990s.
Weaving together intensely personal narratives from community members about the profound impact of mass incarceration, Osorio’s installation comprises two dramatically opposed spaces—a bleak prison cell and a teenager’s room overflowing with consumer goods. Film footage and sound play on both sides of the wall that separates the two spaces, allowing viewers to see and hear the long-distance conversations which Osario filmed, and carried back and forth, between a 15-year-old at his family home and the young man’s father, who was incarcerated at New Jersey’s Northern State Prison.
“Badge of Honor is one of Osorio’s most thought-provoking and moving works, and remains as relevant today as when it was made in the 1990s,” said Beverly Adams, the Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, Department of Painting and Sculpture. “Though the work has traveled far and wide, from its initial installation in a Newark storefront to South Africa, our hope is that its debut here at MoMA will continue to have a profound impact on visitors in New York from all over the world.”
Fourth Floor, 1940–1970
Transparency in Architecture and Beyond (Gallery 417) prominently features a floor-toceiling fragment of the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, one of the first realizations of the ideal of a fully transparent architecture. As the Secretariat Building rose on the East edge of Manhattan in 1950, it was meant to communicate the aspiration of a transparent institution, an intergovernmental organization that would be guided by ethical principles and unafraid to “expose” its inner workings.
Architects—such as Lucio Costa, Le Corbusier, and Oscar Niemeyer in their Ministry of Education and Health (1937–42) in Rio de Janeiro—engaged with the aesthetic potentials and symbolic pitfalls of transparency throughout the 20th century. Acutely aware of the loss of privacy that glass buildings brought about, artists—among them Elizabeth Diller + Ricardo Scofidio, Haus-Rucker-Co, and Dan Graham—investigated the sense of voyeurism and the threat of all-encompassing surveillance of the individual. Using transparency as a metaphor, they uncovered hidden power structures and demanded accountability from institutions—from privately owned museums to multinational corporations.
“Transparency and its other—opacity—are among the key aesthetic tropes of modern architecture throughout the 20th century,” said Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design. “This gallery is an opportunity to explore not only how architects capitalized on the many aesthetic potentials of glass, but also to address the larger political and societal dimensions of transparency in the built environment.”
Body on the Line (Gallery 420) brings together works by an international group of women artists from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, an incredibly rich period in the history of the struggle for women’s rights around the world. These artists engaged with feminism and femininity by drawing on personal histories or staking positions on social issues. Some took a distinctly conceptual approach in establishing the ground for the intermingling of art and politics or in offering a feminist critique of the traditional boundaries of gender in their societies. Others communicated the experiences of women in more sensuous or intuitive ways. “I always feel the painting come from my soul,” declared the artist Kamala Ishag. Her evocative painting of a commune of women amid a supernatural transformation anchors this wide-ranging ensemble of works by extraordinary women who have inspired myriad artists after them.
“Gallery 420 highlights the works of women pioneers whose innovative and empowering visual expressions reflected a range of the physical, intellectual, and inner psychic conditions of women around the world from the late 1960s through the early 1980s,” said Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, the Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture. “It is anchored by a dynamic painting of distorted female figures encircling a transparent cube, by the Sudanese modernist Kamala Ishag, acquired earlier this year. Visitor favorites, such as Eva Hesse’s Repetition Nineteen III (1968), composed of 19 transparent container-like forms, are juxtaposed with a slew of new acquisitions, including I Tried Everything (1972), an installation comprising photographs, advert placements, products, and handwritten notes by Suzanne Lacy and her feminist collaborators.”
Second Floor, 1970–Present
The works in Guadalupe Maravilla: Luz y Fuerza (Gallery 212) take inspiration from a variety of Indigenous myths, like that of the Mayan feathered serpent, as well as ancestral traditions, such as the Salvadoran game of tripa chuca. Maravilla (American, born El Salvador. 1976) creates sculptures from both natural materials and readymade objects, each component selected for its therapeutic, historic, symbolic, and aesthetic properties. Many, too, are meant to act as healing instruments; the Disease Throwers populating this space will be played by the artist and his collaborators.
Two events from Maravilla’s life animate his work above all: crossing the southern border of the United States as an undocumented eight-year-old and, later in life, surviving colon cancer. From this personal history grows a multidisciplinary artistic practice that addresses trauma, contagion, rehabilitation, and rebirth. Often Maravilla works with communities in need, especially those experiencing illness and extreme stress. Throughout the duration of this presentation, he will offer soundbaths to those best helped by the practice, such as individuals living with cancer, and to general audiences. A full schedule will be announced on moma.org.
“The power of Guadalupe’s work begins in the materiality of his sculptures and extends far beyond,” says Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture. Martha Joseph, the Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance, Department of Media and Performance, continues, “To the viewers who see their own histories reflected in the mythology, to the healing his performances aim to provide, and to his unwavering commitment to building and strengthening community.”
In Sky Hopinka’s I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become (Gallery 213), which serves as a tribute to the Native poet Diane Burns, markers of time and place bleed together to form a vivid meditation on mortality and reincarnation. Burns is seen performing at the American Indian Community House in New York in an archival recording from 1996. The footage is punctuated with powwow dancers, filmed by Hopinka and partially obscured by folds of shimmering color created through digital editing. The rhythmic sound of Sacred Harp singing, traditional to the rural American South, makes up the film’s soundtrack.
Hopinka often studies language as a conduit for culture and incorporates text into his films. Here, lines from Burns’s poems alternate with an ethnographic text on the Ho-Chunk concepts of rebirth and the afterlife. Some of these excerpts are recast in geometric arrangements of text called calligrams, an example of which is installed at the gallery entrance. Shaped after Ho-Chunk effigy mounds, these nonlinear texts, like the film, ask what forms the spirit can take.
To celebrate the installation of I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become (2016), MoMA will also present a weeklong run of Hopinka’s feature debut, maɬni–towards the ocean, towards the shore (2020), from October 28 through November 3 in the Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters. This film similarly explores Indigenous perspectives on mortality, rebirth, and the afterlife. This presentation marks maɬni’s first theatrical set of screenings in New York City.
“The power and generosity of Hopinka’s films is in their ability to create new pathways, connections, and questions through emotional resonance,” says Sophie Cavoulacos, Associate Curator, Department of Film. “The gentle interplay between image, text, and sound in Hopinka’s tribute to Anishinabe/Chemehuevi poet Diane Burns models a way of creating space for all who came before us. It is a thrill to build on a moment of renewed scholarship and attention to Burns’s legacy—which is also celebrated this fall in Greater New York at MoMA PS1.”
Fall Reveal Digital Programs
In conjunction with MoMA’s installation of newly acquired copies of the Black Panther newspaper, artist and graphic designer Emory Douglas will participate in a range of digital programs on moma.org. Douglas’s work will also be featured at the Museum in a new collection presentation this fall. As former Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist of the Black Panther Party, Douglas created many of the most recognizable images associated with the Party, and facilitated their distribution to a broad readership through this popular publication. Douglas will join curators on Thursday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m. EST for a live streamed discussion of his work.
He will also hold a workshop with emerging artists as part of MoMA’s Art and Practice series, moderated by Professor Colette Gaiter, on Wednesday, November 3 (prior registration required). All 30 copies of the Black Panther newspaper acquired by the Museum are available for viewing in their entirety on moma.org, and a selection will appear in the new gallery Divided States of America (Gallery 415), which focuses on art, activism, and politics in the 1960s and ’70s. It will include works in a variety of mediums and visual styles by Sam Gilliam, Lee Lozano, and Martha Rosler, in addition to Douglas and others.
Visitor Information Updates
New York City now requires that all visitors (ages 12+) to museums, including MoMA, be vaccinated against COVID-19. For more details on the vaccination mandate, please visit the Key to NYC website. The health and safety of our community remains MoMA’s top priority, and we continue to follow the guidance of City officials and health experts to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting September 10, in accordance with the City mandate, all visitors (ages 12+) to The Museum of Modern Art and its stores must show proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization. Masks are still required for visitors (ages 2+) and staff in all indoor areas of the Museum; complimentary face masks are available.
To enter the Museum and its Stores in Midtown and SoHo, visitors may show any of these accepted forms of proof of COVID-19 vaccination (together with a photo ID):
• A photo or hard copy of an official immunization record of a vaccine administered from within or outside the US.
• For visitors who received an immunization within the US, a photo or hard copy of their CDC vaccination card or other official immunization record showing proof of the following vaccines is acceptable: Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson
• For visitors who received an immunization outside of the US, in addition to those listed above, proof of the following vaccines is acceptable: AstraZeneca/SK Bioscience, Serum Institute of India/COVISHIELD and Vaxzevria, Sinopharm, or Sinovac
• NYC COVID Safe App
• New York State Excelsior App or Excelsior Plus App
Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, The Contemporary Arts Council, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Alice and Tom Tisch, Mimi Haas, the Noel and Harriette Levine Endowment, The David Rockefeller Council, the William Randolph Hearst Endowment Fund, the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Foundation, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.
MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.