Tag Archives: Museum of Modern Art


The International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF)—a coalition of artist and activist groups—has called for ten weeks of protest and action against the leadership of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, beginning on April 9. What follows is a brief excerpt from their Strike MoMA framework and terms for struggle.

Any day now, hedge fund billionaire Leon Black is likely to resign as the chair of the board of MoMA. [On March 26, Black reportedly told colleagues he would not stand for chair re-election in June, but is expected to remain on the board.] It has been six weeks since the deep financial ties between Black and Jeffery Epstein resurfaced in the headlines. Black has already stepped down from Apollo Global Management, but MoMA remains silent about his ongoing role at the museum. Artists and community groups have demanded that Black be removed, and calls for action have been circulating publicly for a month. Last week anonymous sources confirmed to the media that Black is facing pressure from other members of the board to step down. They know his  continued presence on the board is a recipe for crisis, but getting rid of him could set a precedent and put at risk MoMA’s use of his priceless art collection. The museum administration is in a classic decision dilemma.

Whether Black stays or goes, a consensus has emerged: beyond any one board member, MoMA itself is the problem. MoMA Divest offered a summary of its reasoning as follows:

“Five MoMA board members—Steven Tananbaum, Glenn Dubin, Steven Cohen, Leon Black, Larry Fink—have been identified and targeted by different groups over the last year for their ties to war, racist prison and border enforcement systems, vulture fund exploitation, gentrification and displacement of the poor, extractivism and environmental degradation, and patriarchal forms of violence. Board members also have ties and donate to the NYPD Police Foundation. In short, the rot is at the core of the institution, which includes PS1.”

We agree, and also point to Honorary Chair Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics billionaire who is also president of the Zionist lobbying group World Jewish Congress and a major Trump donor. Deserving of recognition as well is board member Patricia Phelps Cisneros, whose billions come from the right-wing Grupo Cisneros media-industrial empire in Latin America. Speaking of Latin America, let’s shine a light on Tananbaum, Jeff Koons enthusiast and chief investment officer at Golden Tree Assets, one of the hedge funds involved in extracting wealth from the people of Puerto Rico through the PROMESA debt-restructuring program. And how could we forget Paula Crown and James Crown of the General Dynamics armaments fortune, whose Crown Creativity Lab on the second floor of the museum hosts The Peoples Studio, an “experimental space where visitors can explore the art and ideas of our time through participatory programs.” This is the condition of modernity that we find at Modernism Central: death-dealing oligarchs using art as an instrument of accumulation and shield for their violence.

From top: Image from MoMA exhibition on home movies Private Lives, Public Spaces (2021); Strike MoMA, courtesy and © IIAAF.


AMERICA is sort of a grandiose title, but I didn’t want to shy away from what it would mean to title the film after my country, because the impetus for this was to visually illustrate inclusivity and make a case for the beauty of what that could mean… The heart and soul of the project asks us to evaluate the role of pleasure particularly within communities still in some ways barred from that fundamental experience or right. So AMERICA is both a meditation and recognition of the beauty that exists in the past, a resurfacing of that beauty, and also a proposal for the future. — Garrett Bradley

The latest iteration of Bradley ’s AMERICA—a multichannel installation at MoMA organized by Thelma Golden and Legacy Russell, in partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem—is on view for one more week.

A series of historical enactments of twentieth-century Black life, the work takes the unfinished film Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1914, starring comedian Bert Williams) as an initial point of investigation. AMERICA features a score by Trevor Mathison and Udit Duseja. See link below for details.


Through March 21.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City.

Garrett Bradley, America (2019 / 2021), Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 21, 2020–March 21, 2021, installation photographs by Robert Gerhardt. Images © Garrett Bradley, courtesy and © the artist and MoMA.


This month, Nicole R. Fleetwood—curator of Marking Time—Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration at MoMA PS1—and Jackie Wang will discuss “carceral aesthetics, the legacy of revolutionary prison arts programs, and the ways that penal space, time, and matter shape the production of prison art. What kinds of worlds and images of freedom have been imagined by prisoners and those with loved ones in prison? What forms of care are embodied by social practices rooted in art-making?”*

See link below for details.


Artists Space Dialogues—Carceral Aesthetics and the Politics of Love

Tuesday, November 10.

5 pm on the West Coast; 8 pm East Coast.

Marking Time—Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, MoMA PS1, through April 4, 2021, from top: Tameca ColeLocked in a Dark Calm, 2016, collage and graphite on paper, image courtesy and © Tameca Cole / Die Jim Crow; collection Ellen Driscoll; Mark Loughney, Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration (detail), 2014–present, graphite on paper, image © Mark Loughney, courtesy of the artist; Sable Elyse SmithPivot II, 2019, stainless steel with 2k painted finish, image © Sable Elyse Smith, courtesy of the artist, JTT, New York, and Carlos / Ishikawa, London; Ronnie Goodman, San Quentin Arts in Corrections Art Studio, 2008, acrylic on canvas, image © the artist’s estate.


When Metro Pictures asked me to do a show in 1982, they already had an image. They represented a group of artists whose work often dealt with issues of appropriation and was often spoken of and written about together. A gallery generates meaning through the type of work they choose to show. I self-consciously made work that “looked like” Metro Pictures. The first thing you saw when you entered my show, Arrangements of Pictures, was an arrangement of works the gallery had on hand by “gallery artists” Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Jack Goldstein, Laurie Simmons, and James Welling. A wall label titled it “Arranged by Louise Lawler.” It was for sale as a work with a price determined by adding up the prices of the individual pieces, plus a percentage for me. I went to the collectors to whom Metro had sold work and photographed the Metro artists’ works in those contexts. I printed the resulting images a “normal” picture size and titled them “arrangements,” too—for example, “Arranged by Barbara and Eugene Schwartz, New York City.” The Metro situation at that time formed that work, and it also formed a way of working for me. — Louise Lawler*

Invited to exhibit together for the first time, Louise Lawler, R. H. Quaytman, and Cameron Rowland present new work along with selected older pieces for a group show in Cologne, now in its final week.


Through October 24.

Galerie Buchholz

Neven-DuMont-Strasse 17, Cologne.

*“Prominence Given, Authority Taken: An Interview with Louise Lawler by Douglas Crimp,” in Louise Lawler: An Arrangement of Pictures (New York: Assouline, 2000).

Louise Lawler, R. H. Quaytman, Cameron Rowland, Galerie Buchholz, September 4, 2020–October 24, 2020, from top: Louise Lawler, Water to Skin (catalogue size), 2016/2017, digital Fujiflex print face mounted to Plexiglas on museum box (The Swimming Pool, 1952, Henri Matisse, gouache on paper, cut and pasted on painted paper, installed as nine panels in two parts on burlap-covered walls, photographed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City); Louise Lawler, Water to Skin (traced), 2016/2020, vinyl adhesive wall material (the work is as a tracing by Jon Buller available as a PDF vector file for production and installation at any scale as an adhesive wall graphic); Louise Lawler, Corner (distorted for the times, perturbée), 2014/2018, digital Fujiflex print face mounted to Plexiglas on museum box (A work by Jean-Michel Basquiat photographed at Yvon Lambert’s office, 108 Rue Vieille du Temple, Paris); Cameron Rowland, Management, 2020, time horn clock; Cameron Rowland, Out of Sight, 2020, 19th-century slave iron, 19th-century slave iron with missing rattle; R.H. Quaytman, Spine, Chapter 20 [Fraser, Anastas, Lawler], 2010, oil, silkscreen ink and gesso on wood (featuring the silkscreened image of Andrea Fraser viewing Louise Lawler’s The Princess, Now the Queen—utilized in four paintings from Painters Without Paintings and Paintings Without Painters, Chapter 8, 2006—combined with a second silkscreened image of Rhea Anastas—utilized in two paintings from Ark, Chapter 10, 2008. Two black bars and the cropping orthogonal of the Andy Warhol painting in Louise Lawler’s photo delimit the silkscreened imagery along with overpainting in Marshall’s photo oils. Down the center is a line of red, green and blue. This line was placed on all paintings in Chapter 20 that reused a silkscreen for a second time.); R.H. Quaytman, + ×, Chapter 34 [V], 2018, indigo distemper and gesso on wood; Louise Lawler, Position (noun), 1982/2020, gelatin silver print, installation view. Images courtesy and © the artists and Galerie Buchholz.


What do we mean by “crime” in America? The question should be easy to answer—we have detailed codes and statutes that forbid certain conduct defined as a criminal offense. We have an elaborate system of policing, prosecution, punishment, and incarceration that involves millions of people. But there’s a great deal more to how we think and talk about crime, and certainly to how we see and enforce criminal laws.

From the beginning, the prosecution and punishment of crime in this country have been profoundly shaped by race, poverty, power, and status. For centuries politicians have stoked fear of crime and exploited perceived crime waves, while our public discourse about crime has been compromised by persistent inattention to our history of racial violence. There is a different narrative about “crime in America” that we have for the most part ignored…

In 1957, Life magazine editors engaged staff photographer Gordon Parks and writer Robert Wallace to explore crime in the United States. The published article, by Wallace and staff editors, was a myopic rendering of the dominant narrative about crime and criminality, emblematic of a discourse shaped by politicians, law enforcement officials, and criminologists not interested in reckoning with pervasive racially motivated criminality.

Parks’ photographs told a different story. As an African American survivor of racial injustice, he was keenly aware of race and class in America, and this palpably informed his photography and his art. He consistently humanized people who were meant to be objects of scorn and derision. It’s this dissonance with a conventional crime narrative that makes his “crime” photos for Life so compelling today. — Bryan Stevenson*

The complete 1957 crime series by Parks—only a few images of which were published in Life—is available now in an exhibition catalog from the suspended Museum of Modern Art exhibition. See links below for details.


*Bryan Stevenson, “The Lens of Gordon Parks: A Different Picture of Crime in America,” in Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime 1957, ed. Sarah Meister (Göttingen: Steidl; Pleasantville, NY: Gordon Parks Foundation; New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2020).

Gordon Parks, The Atmosphere of Crime 1957. Images courtesy and © the Gordon Parks Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, and Steidl.