Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Judith B. Hecker
'German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse' focuses on the explosive production of graphic art associated with Expressionism. The exhibition, featuring more than 250 works by nearly 30 artists from the Museum's collection. 'Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now' brings together nearly 100 prints, posters, books, and wall stencils by 30 artists and collectives that demonstrate the unusual reach, range, and impact of printmaking in South Africa during and after a period of political upheaval. 'I Am Still Alive: Politics and Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing' is an exhibition that brings together recently acquired works dating from the 1950s to today that exemplify expressions of a personal existence in the world with decidedly conceptual, ephemeral, even opaque means. The installation takes works by Danh Vo, On Kawara, and Cengiz Cekil as starting points.
German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse
The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor
German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse focuses on the explosive production of graphic art—prints, drawings, posters, illustrated books, and periodicals—associated with Expressionism, the broad modernist movement that developed in Germany and Austria during the early decades of the 20th century. The movement encompasses a host of individuals and groups with varying stylistic approaches who shared a commitment to intense, personal expression and the desire to achieve a heightened awareness of what it is to be human. A confluence of forces—aesthetic, social, political, and commercial—encouraged virtually every painter and sculptor working in Germany at the time to take up the graphic mediums, giving rise to an unprecedented renaissance, particularly in printmaking. This graphic impulse extends from the birth of Expressionism, around 1905, through the difficult war years of the 1910s into the turbulent postwar years of the early 1920s. Artists in the exhibition include Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Egon Schiele. Organized by Starr Figura, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition is on view from March 27 to July 11, 2011.
The exhibition, featuring more than 250 works by nearly 30 artists, is drawn from The Museum of Modern Art’s exceptional holdings of German Expressionist prints, enhanced by selected drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the Museum’s collection. Expressionist books and periodicals from the Museum’s Library and posters from the Architecture and Design collection are also included. The first major exhibition devoted to German Expressionism at MoMA since 1957, it marks the culmination of a major four-year grant from the Annenberg Foundation to digitize, catalog, and conserve all of the approximately 3,200 Expressionist works on paper in the Museum’s collection. MoMA’s holdings represent one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of this material outside Germany. Through the generosity of the grant, all 3,200 works are accessible to the public on the Museum’s website, where a major online feature has been designed for both general audiences desiring an introduction to Expressionism, and for researchers and specialists who wish to study the works in greater detail.
The Expressionists took up printmaking with a dedication and fervor virtually unparalleled in the history of art. The woodcut, with its jagged gouges and boldly flattened, primitivizing aesthetic, is known as the preeminent Expressionist medium, but the Expressionists also revolutionized the mediums of etching and lithography to alternately vibrant and stark effect. Through printmaking the Expressionists were able to pioneer key formal innovations, to disseminate their images and ideas more broadly, and to engage with the urgent social and political issues of the day.
The exhibition is organized in loosely chronological order, starting with three intimate galleries devoted to the three distinct urban centers in which Expressionism first arose: Dresden, where the artists’ group Brücke (Bridge), which included artists Heckel, Kirchner, and Pechstein, was formed in 1905; Munich, where the artist association Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was established in 1911 by Vasily Kandinsky and Franz Marc; and Vienna, where an Austrian strain of Expressionism first began to express itself around 1908 and was represented by two major figures, Kokoschka and Schiele. The Brücke artists made printmaking a cornerstone of their practice from the very beginning; Heckels’s woodcut Fränzi Reclining (1910) reflects the inspiration they took from the ―primitive‖ aesthetic of African and Oceanic sculptures and masks.
Although printmaking was not as constant a preoccupation for the Blaue Reiter artists, Kandinsky and Marc embraced the woodcut, with its flattened perspective and reductive forms, as an important vehicle in their quest toward abstraction. Kandinsky’s book Klänge (1913) includes 56 stunningly evocative woodcuts, created from 1907 to 1912, that effectively trace his development from figuration to abstraction. For Kokoschka and Schiele, a highly expressive, linear draftsmanship served as the foundation for psychologically charged portraits and nudes. The sharply scratched lines and prickled edges that define the figures in Schiele’s etchings Squatting Woman (1914) and Sorrow (1914) enhance the discomfort of their awkwardly contorted poses.
In the next gallery, a larger space represents the broadening of Expressionism after 1910, when the center of the movement began to shift to Berlin. Many of the Brücke, Blaue Reiter, and Viennese artists gravitated to Berlin, as did a number of other, more independent figures, including Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmüller, Wilhlem Lehmbruck, Ludwig Meidner, and Emil Nolde. The movement thus gained broader momentum as the various strains of Expressionism had the opportunity to mingle with one another. A number of important Berlin-based dealers, such as Paul Cassirer, Herwarth Walden, and J.B. Neumann, began to promote the movement in various ways, including publishing and distributing prints. The dissemination of printed art helped to perpetuate the movement and propel it forward over the next decade.
During these years, a number of crucial themes came more prominently to the fore, including the enticing yet sordid experience of modern urban life; the naked body and its potential to signify primal emotion; the enduring solace associated with nature and religion; and emotionally charged portraiture. These recurring themes are explored at various moments throughout the exhibition.
When World War I erupted in 1914, it dealt a devastating blow to Expressionism’s momentum. Many Expressionists enlisted for active duty or were drafted; others served in the medical corps. A large gallery focusing on the war is dominated by Otto Dix’s monumental portfolio of 50 shockingly unflinching etchings, The War, which was based on his own service in the trenches. It is the largest of several major portfolios dealing with the horror and destruction of the war that were created in the 1920s, when the war was over but many artists were still using their art to exorcise its bitter legacy. Others included in the exhibition are Käthe Kollwitz’s War (1923), with seven woodcuts focusing on the devastation felt by the families left behind; and Grosz’s God with Us (1920), which cynically attacks German militarism. The opportunity to see the Dix and Kollwitz portfolios in their entirety is one of the highlights of the exhibition.
With the war’s end in 1918, a political revolution in Germany led to the creation of Germany’s first democracy, the Weimar Republic. Many artists became politically engaged, creating prints and posters that directly addressed the new social and political challenges. In 1919, Pechstein, Rudi Feld, and Heinz Fuchs created large, colorful, stridently designed posters that festooned kiosks and walls throughout Berlin and urged citizens against the mob violence and anarchy that threatened to destroy the fragile new society, which was suffering from unemployment, inflation, and food shortages. Kollwitz created prints and posters calling attention to humanitarian causes, from starvation in Austria to the plight of the elderly. In his major lithographic series Hell (1919), Beckmann took a nightmarish look at the danger, chaos, and privations in Berlin, through fragmented views, compressed spaces, and contorted figures whose bodies sometimes jut outside his pictures’ frames. For many of these artists, the starkness of black-and-white printmaking provided the most appropriate means for social and political commentary.
By the early 1920s, artists in Germany had become increasingly disaffected. The final gallery of the exhibition focuses on the new style that emerged as an outgrowth of Expressionism during the postwar climate of disillusion. Marked by cynicism and diffidence, the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity, or, as it was sometimes known at the time, post-Expressionism) involved greater detail and clarity and a harsher material truth. Portraiture was the dominant genre associated with this style, and Beckmann, Dix, and Grosz were its leading practitioners. Their works, including Beckmann’s coldly detailed etching Self Portrait in Bowler Hat (1921), and Dix’s acidly colored lithograph Procuress (1923), emphasize the skepticism and decadence of postwar German society.
The print boom associated with Expressionism reached its apex in the postwar years, when inflation followed by hyperinflation devalued the German currency to such an extent that art became one of the most secure investments. Prints, as a more affordable art form, were in the highest demand. Print portfolios were especially popular, as the multiple-image format provided artists with a more expansive way of tackling complex themes. Dramatic portfolios such as Beckmann’s Trip to Berlin (1922), Dix’s Nine Woodcuts (1922), Grosz’s In the Shadows (1921), and Pechstein’s The Lord’s Prayer (1921) confront the contradictions and uncertainties of postwar life. But in 1924, after the government enacted measures to stabilize the currency, the German art market collapsed and, with it, one of the most innovative, prolific, and impassioned periods in the history of the graphic arts came to an end.
The exhibition is made possible by the Annenberg Foundation’s GRoW project, in conjunction with its generous support of the Museum’s German Expressionist Digital Archive Project. The publication and website are made possible by Gregory Weingarten and the Annenberg Foundation. The Museum gratefully acknowledges Gregory Weingarten for his outstanding commitment to the conservation, cataloging, and digitization of over 3,000 of the Museum’s German Expressionist works on paper, resulting in a major exhibition, publication, website, and searchable online collection of this important body of work. Additional support is provided by David Teiger and by The Museum of Modern Art’s Research and Scholarly Publications endowment established through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Edward John Noble Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Perry R. Bass, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Challenge Grant Program.
The major publication accompanying the exhibition features more than 250 full-color plates showcasing MoMA’s remarkable holdings of German Expressionist prints along with a careful selection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the Museum’s collection. Essays by curator Starr Figura and Peter Jelavich, Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, discuss the centrality of printmaking in German Expressionism and describe the movement’s sociocultural backdrop. An illustrated chronology by Iris Schmeisser provides a richly textured account of the interwoven strands of art, culture, and politics during the Expressionist era in Germany. Detailed notes on the artists and print publishers highlight the significance of printmaking to the movement. Available at the MoMA stores and online at MoMAStore.org. Hardcover, 12h x 9.5w x 1"d. 288 pages, 304 illustrations. Price: $60.00. WEBSITE
A major website on German Expressionism, MoMA.org/germanexpressionism, is dedicated to the Museum’s vast holdings of more than 3,200 Expressionist works on paper. The site comprises two complementary, interconnected sections that enable visitors to explore various aspects of the movement and to browse and search the collection online using various selective filters. The first section is designed to provide an overview of the Expressionist movement and the significance of works on paper within it, inviting visitors to explore the various styles and groups associated with Expressionism; the major themes treated by the Expressionists; and the printmaking techniques used by the Expressionists. Additional features are devoted to the major artists and print publishers, and to illustrated books, portfolios, and periodicals —formats to which the Expressionists repeatedly gravitated. For the illustrated books, a special page-turning animation has been developed, which enables visitors to virtually page through all of the illustrations in each of 27 volumes.
The second section of the site is a searchable online collection, which allows visitors to browse and search all of the more than 3,200 Expressionist prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures in the Museum’s collection. Search filters allow for the material to be sorted according to artist, date, technique, or theme. The zoom feature is available with all works. Other special features include a chronology of the Expressionist era detailing the major cultural and political events, and an interactive map of Germany that allows visitors to explore the geographical underpinnings of selected works. The site launches on March 27, but will be up for preview starting on March 22, 2011.
Disseminating Expressionism: The Role of Prints, 1905–1924
Friday, May 6, 2011, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
This half-day symposium centers on the potential of the print as a medium for the dissemination of art and ideas. Scholars will address the print’s ability to represent formal innovations and aesthetic goals, to communicate issues of war and national pride, and to appear alongside news, commentary, and literature in publications and periodicals. Participants include Shulamith Behr, Timothy Benson, Meike Hoffmann, Peter Jelavich, Rose-Carol Washton Long, and Christian Weikop. Moderated by Starr Figura. Tickets ($10; $8 members; $5 students, seniors, staff of other museums) can be purchased online or at the lobby information desk and the film desk.
An audio program featuring commentary by Starr Figura is available at the Museum free of charge, courtesy of Bloomberg; on MoMAWiFi (MoMA.org/momawifi); and as a podcast on MoMA.org/audio and iTunes. MoMA Audio is a collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art and Acoustiguide, Inc. Available in English only.
Press Contacts: Daniela Stigh, 212-708-9747 or email@example.com
Margaret Doyle, 212-408-6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For downloadable high-resolution images, register at MoMA.org/press.
Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now. Prints from The Museum of Modern Art
March 23–August 14, 2011
The Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries, second floor
The exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, drawn entirely from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, brings together nearly 100 prints, posters, books, and wall stencils by approximately 30 artists and collectives that demonstrate the unusual reach, range, and impact of printmaking in South Africa during and after a period of political upheaval. From the earliest print, a 1965 linoleum cut by Azaria Mbatha, to screenprinted posters created during the height of the antiapartheid movement, to recent works by a younger generation that investigate a multiplicity of formats in the wake of apartheid, these works are striking examples of printed art as a tool for social, political, and personal expression. The exhibition is on view from March 23 to August 14, 2011. Among the artists included are Bitterkomix, Kudzanai Chiurai, Sandile Goje, William Kentridge, Senzeni Marasela, John Muafangejo, Cameron Platter, Claudette Schreuders, and Sue Williamson, with the majority of works and artists on view for the first time at MoMA and many for the first time within a U.S. museum. The exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now is organized by Judith B.
Hecker, Assistant Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art. During the oppressive years of apartheid rule in South Africa, black artists had limited access to opportunities for formal training. But far from quashing creativity and political spirit, these limitations gave rise to a host of alternatives, including studios, print workshops, art centers, schools, publications, and theaters open to all races; underground poster workshops and collectives; and commercial galleries that supported the work of all artists—making the art world a progressive force for social change. Printmaking, with its flexible formats, portability, relative affordability, collaborative nature, and democratic reach, was a catalyst in the exchange of ideas and the articulation of political resistance.
Impressions from South Africa is organized around five themes: the use of linoleum cut, which exemplifies the accessibility and bold expressiveness of printmaking; the suitability of printmaking, particularly screenprint and offset lithography, for disseminating political statement; the use of intaglio, which has a strong history of graphically narrative work full of political allusion; the integration of photography and printmaking to expand on the notion of the documentary; and, finally, the variety of topics and formats present in postapartheid printed works, many of which revitalize these other techniques and strategies.
The first section addresses the technique of linoleum cut (or linocut), a medium collectively developed by students at arts schools and community workshops that, beginning in the 1960s, were open to black artists when universities were not. At the time linocut was also a relatively inexpensive printmaking material within the country and frequently used at these schools. Among the artists on view in this section are Azaria Mbatha, John Muafangejo, and Charles Nkosi, who trained at the historic ELC Art and Craft Centre at Rorke’s Drift in KwaZulu- Natal in the 1960s and 1970s. This section also features works created later at Dakawa Art and Craft Community Centre, near Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. The notable linocut Meeting of Two Cultures (1993) by Dakawa student Sandile Goje directly addresses the topic of apartheid’s demise, one year before the country’s first nonracial democratic election. For this work Goje has infused the graphic nature of linocut with satirical elements to present a reconciliation: a rectangular Western-style suburban brick house, with plump legs and ample clothing, shakes hands with a circular thatched home, with slender legs and bare feet, of the type commonly built by the Xhosa people.
During the height of the antiapartheid movement in the 1980s, poster production flourished in workshops, collectives, unions, youth organizations, and the alternative press. Screenprinting and offset lithography were common methods, both incorporating photographic and ready-made imagery; offset was also attractive because its high print runs fostered broad dissemination. Posters on view in this section were created by artists and activists working collectively with Medu Art Ensemble, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Save the Press Campaign, and Gardens Media Project, along with the country’s most broad-reaching antiapartheid organization, the United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF was effective in galvanizing the public through their printed materials and protests in the 1980s, as exemplified in the poster One Year of United Action (1984), on view here, which celebrates the UDF’s first anniversary. This work is typical of the directness and symbolism of the group’s imagery— dramatically printed in red, black, and yellow, it emphasizes the racial diversity and heroism of its constituents.
The following section focuses on the technique of intaglio, a printmaking process that has produced some of the most salient works on sociopolitical topics in the history of art, by artists such as Francisco Goya, Otto Dix, and Pablo Picasso, who embraced etching and its related techniques for its refined, detailed, and evocative effects. Works in this section were created by artists Norman Catherine and William Kentridge with master printers at professional fine-art print workshops, such as the renowned Caversham Press in Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal. In the 1980s, Catherine used intaglio to metaphorically capture the atmosphere of extreme violence and restrictions under the “states of emergency” that the apartheid government declared to control the public and ban organizations. His 1988 drypoints Witch Hunt, Warlords, and Psychoanalyzed, on view in this section, show warring, vicious, and ailing creatures, both military and civilian, which suggest the realities of police presence and interrogation as well as a general inner turmoil. The set of prints in this exhibition is a rare version with watercolor additions, presenting a beautiful palette that belies the subject’s ferocity. Other prints in this section include William Kentridge’s Casspirs Full of Love (1989), which presents a haunting, dreamlike vision of destruction, as well as a selection of recent, searing intaglios from Diane Victor’s Disasters of Peace series (2001-present), which quotes Goya’s Disasters of War to reveal, with scathing satire, the everyday disasters of life that are part of apartheid’s legacy today.
Printmaking’s mechanical processes and inherent concern with reproduction encourages the seamless incorporation of photography, thus transforming a traditionally documentary medium in South Africa into one that can both bear witness to history and allow for more nuanced interpretations. Prints on view in this section are by Jo Ractliffe, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Ernestine White, and Anton Kannemeyer. Ractliffe employs printmaking’s capacity to alter, layer, and reconstitute photographs in her series Nadir (1987–88), which combines photographs of aggressive dogs with images of squatter camps, forced removals, relocation settlements, and dumps to create symbolic representations of the widespread fear and anger during the states of emergency. Sue Williamson embraces the photocopy in her monumental 49-part work, For Thirty Years Next to His Heart (1990), to reveal the moving and disturbing contents of one man’s passbook, which black people were required to carry at all times during apartheid.
The final theme of the exhibition encompasses postapartheid works in various techniques and formats. Installed throughout all the sections of the exhibition, and shown in concentration in the last gallery, many of these works revitalize earlier techniques or use them as a point of conceptual departure. One such development has been with the linocut, as artists new to the medium experiment with its graphic potential in unconventional ways, as seen in sculptor Paul Edmunds’s first linocut The same but different (2001), a single uninterrupted bright red line that undulates across a sheet of paper six feet high. The work’s pulsating composition, which emphasizes method rather than narrative, is a hypnotic meditation on the physical, time-based process of incising. Also on view in this section is a jarring life-size spraypainted stencil by the Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai, who lives in Johannesburg and has addressed violence and corruption in the election process in South Africa’s neighboring Zimbabwe. This stencil captures the vitality and stealth nature of political graffiti art used by activists during the antiapartheid movement in the 1980s and again today to reflect upon Africa’s complex political world. The Museum’s first acquisitions of prints by a South African artist were in the 1960s, followed by numerous photographs beginning in the 1970s. But it was during the 1990s, in the years following the end of the worldwide cultural boycott of South Africa, that the Museum began a dialogue with contemporary artists from South Africa, in particular the work of William Kentridge. In the past decade, all of MoMA’s curatorial departments have been expanding their collections of work by South African artists, although the Museum’s Print Department has been singular in its broad reaching acquisitions and introduction of new artists to the Museum’s collection.
The exhibition is made possible by The Coca-Cola Company. Additional support is provided by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley and by Marnie S. Pillsbury.
In conjunction with the Media Preview for German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., MoMA will host a press walkthrough of Impressions from South Africa from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on March 22. RSVP: (212) 708-9401 or email@example.com
The publication Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now. Prints from The Museum of Modern Art accompanies the MoMA exhibition. It presents printed work, drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, by 29 South African artists and organizations, reflecting the country’s movement toward democracy and the changing society that has followed its attainment. The publication features a handsome plate section; an introduction by Judith B. Hecker; an extensive chronology of relevant political and cultural events; short biographies of the artists, organizations, publishers, and printers; and a bibliography with references on South African printmaking, contemporary art, and history. Paperback. 8 x 10 in.; 96 pp.; 72 color ills. 978-0-87070-756-8. $29.95.
Paul Jackson, (212) 708-9593, firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Doyle, (212) 408-6400, email@example.com
I Am Still Alive: Politics and Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing
March 23–September 19, 2011
The Paul J. Sachs Drawings Galleries, third floor
The Museum of Modern Art presents I Am Still Alive: Politics and Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing, an exhibition that brings together recently acquired works dating from the 1950s to today that exemplify expressions of a personal existence in the world with decidedly conceptual, ephemeral, even opaque means, on view March 23 through September 19, 2011. The artists in this exhibition comment—often directly—on the state of the world around them, highlighting their place within it, or sometimes simply attesting to the existence of an outside reality full of conflicts and politics in everyday life. The installation takes works by Danh Vo, On Kawara, and Cengiz Çekil as starting points from which to examine how artists have registered urgent, violent, and far-reaching political affairs and profound human emotions and traumas—mental suffering, illness, and death—through gestures that may at first appear slight. Often it is through the simplest of gestures—such as writing and drawing—that the most intimate aspects of an artist’s life come to the fore. Additional artists on view include Paul Chan, León Ferrari, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marine Hugonnier, Lee Lozano, Mangelos, and Robert Morris. I Am Still Alive is organized by Christian Rattemeyer, The Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator of Drawings, with Maura Lynch, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.
In 1970, On Kawara (Japanese, b. 1933) sent a series of telegrams to his Dutch gallerist proclaiming, ―I am still alive.‖ Danh Vo (Danish, born Vietnam, 1975) appropriated the chandelier beneath which the Paris Peace Accord, which ended the Vietnam War, was signed in 1973 in the former ballroom of the Hotel Majestic, Paris—an event that led to the artist’s exile from Vietnam two years later. For two months in 1976, Cengiz Çekil (Turkish, b. 1945) stamped ―I am still alive today‖ in his small diary each night, a response to increasing military tension in his native Turkey. In all three cases, the simplicity and austerity of the artworks belie the complexity of the realities—political upheaval, displacement, a human life, and languages of protest—that inspired them and that render them politically relevant and emotionally resonant.
Many of the more recent projects concern the everyday and acknowledging the artists’ involvement in it. From 1993 to 1996, Jim Hodges (American, b. 1957) sketched flowers in ballpoint, felt-tip, or pencil on used and unused napkins obtained from grocery stores and coffee shops. Remarking on the fragility of life, the passage of time, and the notion of memory, each napkin functions as a remembrance of a particular experience or emotion, like a page in a diary. Diary of Flowers, the series of drawings Hodges began in the early 1990s, also functions as a tangible reminder of the AIDS crisis, which deeply affected the artist; he made his last Diary of Flowers ―entry‖ on January 9, 1996, the day that his close friend and fellow artist Felix Gonzalez- Torres died of AIDS.
Beatrice González’s (Colombian, b. 1938) work explores sociopolitical subject matter specific to Colombian history and vernacular culture. In 1979, Julio César Turbay Ayala became the country’s leader, and González was inspired to produce a drawing a day based on the daily media coverage of his presidency. The artist has said that she decided to become a type of ―court painter‖ with the aim of documenting the spectacle of political leadership. Her simple stylized drawings from this series are fragmentary depictions of Turbay attending sessions of congress; meeting with church, government, and military personnel; and engaging in leisurely activities, thus providing an intimate look at the public aspect of power and depicting an ambiguity between formal rituals and events of society.
Andrea Bowers (American, b. 1965) explores her interest and involvement in activist causes, including environmentalism, immigration advocacy, women’s rights, and civil rights. In her works on paper she meticulously redraws images from photographs, often editing out the original background and isolating figures from a crowd in order to highlight the essential message, event, or protagonist. In Promises, Promises (2010), a woman is depicted seated on top of the shoulders of another woman, holding a sign that reads ―Promises, Promises.‖ The background is blank and, while one can only assume by the poster and the assertive stance of the figure that they are at a rally of some sort, what issue they are addressing remains unclear. By isolating the subjects Bowers moves away from the particulars of the original event and imbues it with a more universal truth—that broken promises are made every day and we need to fight to hold those who make them accountable
The exhibition is made possible by Lawrence B. Benenson.
Kim Donica, 212-708-9752 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Doyle, 212-408-6400 or email@example.com
For downloadable high-resolution images, register at MoMA.org/press.
Image: Emil Nolde. Young Couple (Junges Paar). 1913. Lithograph, comp.: 24 1/2 x 19 13/16" (62.2 x 50.3 cm). Publisher: unpublished. Printer: Westphalen, Flensburg, Germany. Edition: 112 in 68 color variations. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase © Nolde Stiftung, Seebüll, Germany
Press Preview Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Museum of Modern Art
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