IFA CONTEMPORARY

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Alma Thomas: In Space, In Time

In lock step with a series of cross-country exhibitions showcasing the marginalized work of African American abstract painters (Sam Gilliam at David Kordansky and Norman Lewis at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, to name two) The Studio Museum in Harlem has mounted a much needed, if small, monographic show titled, simply, Alma Thomas (on view July 14 – October 30, 2016). Alongside urgent contemporary debates spotlit by Black Lives Matter, such a recasting of (art) history challenges the hermeticism of academic discourse, art magazine glosses, and white-walled galleries; indeed, a New York Times feature story brought the trend to the attention of a broader public late last year. Timely, even-keeled, and sensitive without descending into hagiography, Alma Thomas presents the paintings of an artist who has emerged as a latter-day star, with her tangerine and carmine Mars Dust featured alongside Elizabeth Murray and Cy Twombly in the Whitney Museum’s inaugural downtown exhibition, and with a sunny mid-1960s circle painting on view in the White House dining room. As such, she exemplifies the latent power of repressed or silenced narratives.

Installation view of Alma Thomas at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Photograph by the author.

Installation view of Alma Thomas at The Studio Museum in Harlem. All photographs by the author.

Installation View 2

Installation view of Alma Thomas at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Alma Thomas unfolds over the period of 1959 to 1976, roughly apace with the artist’s career. Born in Columbus, Georgia in 1891, Thomas’s family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1907 due to increasing racial tensions in the southern United States, and she remained in the capital until her death in 1978. Thomas’s commitment to education exceeded her own academic pursuits: after receiving a fine arts degree at Howard University, an MA at Columbia Teachers College, and an MFA at American University, she worked as an art teacher at Shaw Junior High School. Only upon retirement in 1960 did she turn her attention wholly to her own practice. Although almost entirely comprised of abstract work, the exhibition includes two early representational paintings, both titled Sketch for the March on Washington (c. 1964). In them, white rectangular forms atop a cool-hued mass of standing figures read almost as blunted mountains in an otherwise innocuous landscape. Only upon realizing that they are, instead, wordless protest posters do the paintings’ gravity and titular historical referent register.

Alma Thomas, Sketch for the March on Washington, c. 1964, oil on canvas board.

Alma Thomas, Sketch for the March on Washington, c. 1964, oil on canvas board.

This solemnity is offset by the joyful tone of the remaining works in the show, which addresses Thomas’s output in four thematic sections: Move to Abstraction, Earth, Mosaic, and Space. In the first of these, End of Autumn (1968) inaugurates what would become her signature style: short brushstrokes of varying lengths stacked one atop the other in linear sequences, packed tightly across the canvas. It is a tentative, uncertain painting, as if Thomas is testing out new ideas. In it, a field of fleshy peach daubs is interrupted by a hovering circular form, replete with rainbow-hued vertical stripes. More often than not, she seems to have begun her strokes from the top, pulling her paint downward. This is difficult to confirm, however, as closer scrutiny reveals that Thomas took a smaller brush loaded with a white acrylic (here as elsewhere of a slightly different tone from that of the primer) and painted over, and across, the multicolored upright bands. The overall effect is twofold: up close, it amounts to slighter, more bifurcated, and more jagged forms, while from further away it adds to the central motif a craquelure reaching inward from perimeter to center, like asymmetrical wheel spokes. Graphite lines peeking through (and sometimes on top of) Thomas’s clustered forms confirm that she laid down a preconceived compositional map. Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers (1968) demonstrates Thomas’s transposition of these same techniques onto a rectangular, rather than circular, format. It is one of many places in the exhibition where we feel we can see Thomas thinking via formal experimentation.

Alma Thomas, End of Autumn, 1968, acrylic and graphite on canvas. Detail of Title.

Alma Thomas, End of Autumn, 1968, acrylic and graphite on canvas. Detail of End of Autumn.

Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968, acrylic on canvas. Detail of Title.

Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968, acrylic on canvas. Detail of Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers.

Save for the earliest four paintings on view, Thomas works in acrylic throughout. Given her longtime role as an arts educator, this puts me in mind of the jugs of like paint crammed in junior high classroom closets. Indeed her handling has nothing to do with that of her contemporaries, Washington Color Field painters like Thomas Downing, Sam Gilliam, and Kenneth Noland, who soaked diluted acrylics into unprimed cotton duck without ever touching brush to canvas. In so doing (according to their ringleader, the critic Clement Greenberg) painting could subvert illusionism’s unsavory implication of space and therefore absence (of the figure), opting instead for utter flatness and an attendant metaphysics of presence. Thomas’s marks, by contrast, sit resolutely atop a primed layer, the foremost among them cohering into a perforated curtain that appears to conceal another space behind. Her paintings reward close and sustained looking, but her vertical stripe works, especially, defy the “one-shot” motifs—polka dot sequences, pours, chevrons—of the artists listed above, instead edging closer to Gene Davis’s even-width stripe paintings. (In fact, my drawing such comparisons at all only underscores the extent to which Greenbergian discourse was erected for and around those painters exclusively, and reifies it in turn.) One senses that Thomas paid little heed to Color Field’s narrow strictures; her paintings could even be said to define themselves against such doctrines in a measured vote of defiance or non-participation.

Alma Thomas, Cherry Blossom Symphony, 1973, acrylic on canvas. Detail of Title.

Alma Thomas, Cherry Blossom Symphony, 1973, acrylic on canvas. Detail of Cherry Blossom Symphony.

The early 1970s paintings included in the Studio Museum’s Earth section are the most masterful in the show. A gallery label informs us that Thomas first realized her commitment to abstraction while watching light shift through tree leaves in her garden, an anecdote that emboldens associative readings encouraged by oft-botanical titles but likewise frustrated by the works’ seeming nonobjectivity. In these pictures, such as the knockout Arboretum Presents White Dogwood (1972) or Cherry Blossom Symphony (1973), foreground and background swap roles: the shimmering veil of vertical brush marks becomes monochromatic (here, white and bubblegum pink, respectively), with the previously-vacant ground now full of chromatic variety, like a luminescent magical world only just hidden from view. Careful scrutiny of a columnar passage near Cherry Blossom Symphony’s right side demonstrates a nearly uniform application of pink, punctuated by short horizontal blues, here confounding the relationship between fore- and back-ground within a single painting. With brushstrokes in diagonally a- or de-scending sequences—so no adjacent brush stroke breaks at the same point as the one next to it, but instead toward its neighbor’s middle—these two paintings have the astonishing effect of an optical flicker or of vertical movement, like film strips reeling up or down at varying speeds. The late 1970s heralded a breaking apart of Thomas’s linearly-stacked forms into constellated zones interspersed with glyphs and squiggles, as in Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish (1976). These so-called Mosaic paintings are the latest in the show, truncated by her death in 1978.

Alma Thomas, A Glimpse of Mars, 1969, acrylic on canvas.

Alma Thomas, A Glimpse of Mars, 1969, acrylic on canvas.

A final, smaller section, Space, groups works resulting from Thomas’s fascination with air travel and NASA missions. Departing from the chronological sweep of the main gallery, this group dates between 1969 and 1972, and has the most interpretative potential. With titles like A Glimpse of Mars (1969), Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped in Sunset (1970), Apollo 12 “Splash Down” (1970), and Starry Night and the Astronauts (1972), Thomas’s circle motifs obtain new valences, reading as planets seen from afar; her fragmented verticals as cratered soil crusts. Contemporaneous with the famed 1972 Blue Marble photograph of the earth seen from outer space, these paintings hint that Thomas was inspired by photographic documentation over and above her imaginative capacities alone. This is instructive because it validates realms of experience (like photography) otherwise not present in her works proper. Thomas’s interest in space travel, with its facility to decenter subjectivity and make room for new subject positions, strikes a chord with discourses of racial justice otherwise absent from the works. One wonders if Thomas’s yoking together via abstraction these two spheres of experience enabled her to bypass the demands placed on black artists for social content in their art, while not  discounting it completely. (There is little irony in remembering that by 1969, the Studio Museum had declared abstraction irrelevant to black American life and essentially banned it from its galleries, insisting instead on figuration as a way to liberate audiences from the limited perspectives of white representational art.) In a brilliant and salutary move, Thomas shifts discursive registers, effectively speaking one language to make available another. All the while, her paintings maintain an optimism: a belief in the universal legibility of abstraction over figuration’s more limited range.

Throughout, Thomas’s paintings burst with ebullience, hopefulness, and verve. In 1970, Thomas proclaimed that “through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.” She was a trailblazer through and through: the first person to graduate with a fine arts degree from Howard, and the first African American woman to receive a retrospective, in 1972, at the Whitney Museum. Her resurgence today comes when our country needs different voices—whether young or old—more than ever, a struggle that haunted Thomas, too. As she put it in 1972, “one of the things we couldn’t do was go into museums, let alone think of hanging our pictures there. My, times have changed. Just look at me now.”

Performing Intimacy: Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

A soprano’s voice echoes through the museum’s quiet halls. Inside the Metropolitan’s main gallery for contemporary art, the singer stands before a large, rapt audience but performs only for one. Moments earlier, she approached an unsuspecting viewer with an offer of the “gift of song”; now accepted, the soprano delivers a moving rendition of a Franz Schubert lied—a short operatic solo derived from German poetry of the late 18th and early 19th centuries—to the chosen visitor seated several yards away. In deference to the intimacy of the performance, onlookers quietly move towards the periphery of the gallery. The visitor, seemingly lost in the soprano’s stirring song, begins to cry. After three brief minutes the lied ends and the palpable bond between performer and visitor is broken. What remains, however, is the memory of an experience that transcended mere recital or performance art to strive for something deeper and more consequential: a meaningful, if fleeting, moment of communion between strangers.

Sonic Blossom performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ® Julia Cervantes for The New York Times, 2015

Sonic Blossom performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ® Julia Cervantes for The New York Times, 2015

Organized through the Metropolitan Museum’s Concerts and Lecture series, this brief exchange was one of many—each incorporating new vocalists, audiences and one of five different lieder—enacted over the course of ten days in November 2015 as part of Lee Mingwei’s performance art piece Sonic Blossom. The work has been presented several times before, including at museums in Korea, Japan, China, Singapore and, most recently, in the United States at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Yet it strikes a particular cord in New York, a city known for its skepticism, impatience and toughness. New Yorkers have learned from experience to be wary of those approaching them wearing odd clothing with promises of ‘gifts’. Staged elsewhere in Manhattan, say in a local park or subway terminal, the performer would have been met with considerable distrust. But in the cultural setting of the Metropolitan, the only museum in the city to house both a fine art and musical instrument collection, visitors are primed for just this kind of unusual artistic behavior.

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Some Thoughts After Attending the Art on Paper Fair

What is known as “Armory Week” took place early March in New York. The roughly seven-day-long art extravaganza takes its name from the 1913 Armory Show—America’s first large-scale exhibition of modern art, which took place in the Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. Every year, Armory Week encompasses numerous art fairs and events across the city, providing excellent opportunities to not only look at art and meet artists and art world professionals, but also to practice observing the art market and predicting forms it could take in the foreseeable future. On March 6, I attended the Art on Paper Fair. As many will likely admit, time at art shows goes by quickly and is never quite enough. Thus, I focused my visit on new, alternative uses of the paper medium, observing the gamut displayed, speaking with artists and dealers, and gauging the visitors’ reactions.

Hideho Tanaka, Vanishing and Emerging Wall, 2009, paper, 87 x 102 x 11 in, browngrotta gallery, photo by author.

Hideho Tanaka, Vanishing and Emerging Wall, 2009, paper, 87 x 102 x 11 in, browngrotta gallery, photo by author.

One thing that became noticeable early on, while walking around the space, was the number of conversations concerning the apparent two-dimensionality of most works exhibited at the fair. Such observations were offered with a tone of disappointment, as though the future of paper, as presented here, had circled back on itself and was, once again, non-sculptural and flat. Despite the public’s generalizations about the prevalence of age-old applications of pencil, ink and paint, this year’s fair was actually marked with works that pushed far beyond tradition.

There were numerous instances of artworks that toyed with both two and three-dimensionality. A fascinating example was found in the offerings of Canadian artist and author Cybèle Young, represented by Forum Gallery, whose works are sculptures trapped in a frame. Elsewhere, Browngrotta gallery exhibited only non-flat works. Of particular note was “Vanishing and Emerging Wall,” 2009, a round textile by Japanese artist Hideho Tanaka woven out of squares of paper, painted with stripes and hung in such a way as to create vertical folds. Similarly, Owen James Gallery exhibited small paper pulp sculptures by Adam Frezza and Terri Chiao. The sculptures’ whimsical colors, glitter, and coral-like structure created a playful atmosphere that made them alluring to fair-visitors of all ages. Overall, encountering works that experimented with unique applications of the paper medium made the whole visit far more lively than one could typically expect of these fairs—like a treasure hunt of art on paper.

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When the Signal Becomes the Noise

To get to the Whitney’s 8th floor exhibit Laura Poitras: Astro Noise, I stood in line for about twenty minutes, taking note in the museum’s glass exterior of my reflection and those of other visitors waiting in line to see the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. I thought about Poitras’s past documentaries, including the Oscar-winning CITIZENFOUR, and wondered how her exhibition would reflect on her chief topic – the United States in the post-9/11 era – in ways that her documentaries could not. Watching my reflection slowly inch forward proved to be a fortuitous entrance to the immersive exhibit, which, according to the program, “asks viewers to actively consider their position and responsibility in the ‘war on terror.’” Indeed, Astro Noise implicates and arranges viewers in “immersive media environments” that compel active looking and embodied contemplation.

I stepped out of the elevators and into the first “immersive media environment” (the program’s reinvention of the word “room”). The space is split in half by a single screen, onto both sides of which are projected videos that respond to 9/11. Titled O’Say Can You See (2001/2016), this two-channel digital video bifurcates the room, a setup that divides viewers into opposing groups that face each other as they face the central screen, as if an audience reflected in a mirror. Playing on side A of the screen are slowed images of the faces of New Yorkers as they look upon the remains of Ground Zero days after the attacks. Here viewers confront, and perhaps even remember firsthand, the emotions of that terrorist event: disbelief, shock, fear. These same feeling could be registered on the faces of viewers looking at the other side of the screen, where uncovered U.S. military interrogation videos of two prisoners in Afghanistan, Said Boujaadia and Salim Hamdam, represent the Bush Administration’s response to the attacks.

View from “second” side of O’Say Can You See.  Photography: Connor Hamm

View from “second” side of O’Say Can You See. Photography: Connor Hamm

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Saltz Does the Armory

Taking a deep breath as I stepped through the entrance doors to the Armory Show, I braced myself for the inevitable feeling of art overload I was about to experience; for me, each booth merges with the next, resulting in a shopping mall vibe that seems anathema to a productive viewing experience. But, let’s face it, this is exactly what an art fair should be, right?

According to Jerry Saltz, a self-proclaimed lover of all things art-related, art fairs aren’t about the art at all. They’re about the people. So he claimed in a talk entitled “LIKE, SWIPE AND DOUBLE TAP: Visual Criticism in the Digital Age,” moderated by Benjamin Genocchio, Executive Director of the Armory Show. Leave it to Saltz, known for never pulling his punches, to alleviate some of the commercial art world ridiculousness … or so I thought. The following is a response to one of the most ludicrous ‘talks’ I’ve attended in a long while. (Disclaimer: Devoted Saltz fans should stop reading now, if only to save themselves the indignation for more important battles, like social media censorship.)

When asked to describe my feelings about art fairs I usually reply with general disdain, laced with stronger feelings of actual disgust. I know many art historians, perched on our intellectual high horses, feel the same way about the overt commodification of art. Such fairs seem to suggest that artworks are best marketed as swank luxury goods or smart financial investments but not cultural treasures. Is this a just assessment? Probably not, given that we are all, even those members of the hallowed academy, proponents of the art market, whether we intend it or not. My morality may also be somewhat compromised for even attending the fair (though I did so on a free day pass; heaven forbid actually paying to go!).

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Painting, Blind

Tucked amidst a spate of current shows featuring work in a particular vein of modernist painting—Stella, Olitski, Noland—Paul Barlow’s paintings, primarily of colorful frames, might seem little more than over-literal riffs on the medium’s ontology: canvas, stretcher bars, paint. And they are, undeniably, all those things, but close scrutiny reveals something else besides.

Linne Urbye, Untitled (1), Untitled (4), and Untitled (12), all 2015, Flashe (vinyl) and oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. All photographs by the author.

Linne Urbye, Untitled (1), Untitled (4), and Untitled (12), all 2015, Flashe (vinyl) and oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. All photographs by the author.

Blind Spots (on view January 14 – February 20, 2016) at Ana Cristea Gallery is a thirteen-work show of modestly-sized canvases by two painters: British artist Barlow and Norwegian artist Linne Urbye, both of whom are exhibiting in the United States for the first time. Urbye covers her canvases with repeating, often empty, abstract forms—chevrons, overlapping arcs, fleurs-de-lis, quarter-moons—in cool blues, greys, and whites. Often, her paint application discloses a prior composition below, laying bare the material’s twin function as both veil and window while simultaneously marking the support as a palimpsest of gestural maneuvers. These operations entail a certain resistance of vision on the part of the viewer, who must double down to visually excavate the logic of the marks beneath the uppermost layer. Through the interlocking arches, filled in to varying degrees in Untitled (12) (2015) we catch a glimpse process, and wonder if we are seeing the work in an unfinished state. This transports the viewer from the space of the gallery to the space of the studio, a shift in register from the optics of viewing to the haptics of making. It is Barlow, however, who seizes most productively on the exhibition’s titular blindness as an operative term. This review, then, focuses primarily on his work.

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Walid Raad Curates Art and History at MoMA

In the first minutes of Walid Raad’s Walkthrough, a performance given throughout the run of his survey show at MoMA, the artist appears approachably nervous. Dressed down in jeans, a black t-shirt and baseball hat, he prefaces his hour-long talk by confessing that he suffers from panic attacks that often lead him to pace back and forth while speaking. Vulnerability suggests sincerity, and the works in this show—full of facts and figures about topical political and cultural issues—support the viewer’s first impression of earnestness. Nearby, an elaborate, colorful tableau visualizing years of research into the history of art in the “Arab world” uncovers connections between the Artist Pension Trust (ATP), a private enterprise offering financial security in the fickle commercial art world, its parent company MutualArt.com, and Israeli military intelligence. All of this data, part of an ongoing project called Scratching on things I could disavow (2007- ) is verifiable, Raad assures us. Yet he says the links revealed are so expected and banal that they are undeserving of an artwork. Oscillating between researcher and artist, Raad not only blurs distinctions between fact and fiction, but also implies that distilling truth from storytelling is entirely beside the point: the real end is engendering a greater awareness of the means by which history is constructed.

Walid Raad, MoMA, Exhibition view. Photography: Kara Fiedorek

Walid Raad, MoMA, Exhibition view. Photography: Kara Fiedorek

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The Great Hall Exhibition Walead Beshty: Impressions

My interest in inviting Walead Beshty to exhibit at the Institute was rooted in the nature of his work and the questions it raises for the art historical field. Beshty’s commitment to exposing systems, the movement and handling of works of art and the evolving meaning of the art object engenders timely and critical questions that challenge how we interact with, write about, and historicize art.

I also felt strongly about showing an artist whose work offered a contrast to the regality of the Great Hall but still complemented it. The glowing television, cracked glass cubes and clicking printer bring three new forms—along with novel sounds—into the space, contrasting with the Hall’s decorative mirrors, figurative sculptures, and lavish chandeliers. Between their radical transparency and diligent deconstruction, the works become a metaphor for the task of the art historian: dissecting art to offer a new interpretation of what it means.

Walead Beshty, Gret Hall Exhibitions. Photography: Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

Walead Beshty, Great Hall Exhibitions. Photography: Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

When the editors asked Eloise and I to write something about the exhibition, we were hesitant to produce a formal curatorial statement and preferred, instead, to facilitate a dialogue with the various people who have interacted with the works over the past month. As such, we embarked on the somewhat dangerous task of asking our fellow graduate students in art history—and one very special security guard—for their reflections on the show. Each impression was gathered during an informal conversation with the respondent and was impromptu. We wanted immediate reactions rather than formally-composed assessments. Both celebratory and critical, the following is what we heard:

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A Multisensory Experience at the Opening of the Onassis Foundation’s Festival, Fall 2015

In early October New York’s Onassis Foundation hosted a festival in its newly renovated Atrium and gallery to mark the reopening of its Cultural Center. The festival, entitled Narcissus Now: the Myth Reimagined, consisted of an unforgettable opening ceremony and art exhibition, followed by several talks and lectures by renowned scholars and professionals in a variety of cultural and artistic fields, all revolving around the concept of ‘narcissism.’ The festival’s opening event, which took place on the evening of Thursday, October 8th, featured a number of talented artists, musicians, choreographers and dancers who collaborated to create an interactive and multisensory experience that transcended genre and artistic medium.

Angelo Plessas, The Art Wall: I AMness, 2015, Digital still, online view http://i-amness.com/ Photo by IFA student, Tiffany M. Apostolou

Angelo Plessas, The Art Wall: I AMness, 2015, Digital still, online view http://i-amness.com/ Photo by IFA student, Tiffany M. Apostolou

The event utilized both floors of the Cultural Center, encompassing three different spaces for the exhibition of artworks linked together by a site specific performance, and music written especially for the occasion. Most striking among the exhibited pieces, the large scale work The Art Wall: I AMness by Angelo Plessas, 2015 was installed in the Atrium. Plessas is an Athens-based artist who works between traditional visual and avant-garde digital practices. The Art Wall: I AMness represents a still of Plessas’ characteristically graphic online interactive work I AMness, 2015. Consisting of a series of black and white stripes, the work features two central circles. Structured across a central divide, the symmetry of these circular forms engenders a dizzying mirroring sensation. With this simple compositional strategy, Plessas embodies the subject of narcissism through self-reflection. Through its repetitive, almost psychedelic graphics, the work also signals the internal conflict that narcissism can cause, as expressed in the relationship between the circles that meld together above and seem to tear apart below. Even more so than this large-scale mural, the original version of I AMness, which began as a website, dives even deeper on the issue of narcissism in the age of the internet by calling the viewer to take control over the work by moving the circles with his cursor changing how they merge and detach from one another.

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Art, and a Museum, in Flux

On a curtain of vinyl strips are projected two reproductions of Henri Matisse’s painting La Danse. Even in their dematerialized, doubled state the dancers are instantly recognizable, but after several seconds they vanish, replaced now by a Warhol portrait of Mao that is paired with a Mondrian Composition. The sequence continues, a parade of Van Goghs, Cézannes, Kandinskys, and Klees all flashing across the curtain seemingly at random, as if they accompanied an absent art history lecture that disregarded all pretense of chronological or stylistic organization.

This work by Lea Lublin, Dedans le musée/Pénétration d’Images (1971), invites the viewer to behold these familiar works and then pass through the curtain, at once metaphorically entering their pictorial spaces and enacting their physical rupture. Appropriately, it enjoys pride of place at The Museum of Modern Art’s compelling, dizzying Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, dominating a small gallery at the heart of a show that foregrounds a widespread ambivalence towards prevailing artistic trends shared by artists on both sides of the Atlantic, who sought not only to engage with such trends but ultimately reshape them.

Lea Lublin, Dedans le musée/Pénétration d'images, 1971, 178 35mm color slides and vinyl curtain Photography: Sean Nesselrode

Lea Lublin, Dedans le musée/Pénétration d’images, 1971, 178 35mm color slides and vinyl curtain, on view at MoMA
Photography: Sean Nesselrode

A collaborative effort by curators Stuart Comer, Roxana Marcoci, and Christian Rattemeyer, the show is drawn almost entirely from the museum’s permanent collection, with nearly half of the three hundred works on display for the first time at MoMA. The majority of these are recent acquisitions that have come to the museum thanks to the efforts of C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives), an in-house initiative dedicated to pushing beyond the warhorses on view in Lublin’s installation to focus on comparatively understudied work from Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Transmissions is the first major curatorial intervention to result from C-MAP and the latest in a recent line of MoMA exhibitions that, in welcoming new figures into a pantheon of twentieth- and twenty-first century art history, have found the museum playing a long overdue but much welcome game of catch-up. Latin America has recently been spotlighted in retrospectives of Lygia Clark, Horacio Coppola, and Grete Stern, with Joaquín Torres-García next in line; Central and Eastern Europe have been represented by Isa Genzken, Sigmar Polke, and Alina Szapocznikow.

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