Jill Krementz covers Contemporary Art at MoMA

Detail from Kara Walker's 50-foot-long wall mural, Gone: An historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and her Heart (1994), greets visitors at entrance to exhibition. "Gone" refers to Margaret Mitchell's 1936 best-selling novel Gone with The Wind, set during the American Civil War.
Contemporary Art from the Collection
The Museum of Modern Art
Contemporary Galleries, second floor
June 30th, 2010 to September 12, 2011

I think you will enjoy this new “reinstallation” of MoMA's second floor galleries for contemporary art (measuring 14,740 square-feet). The exhibition offers a focused examination of artistic practice since the late 1960s and shows how current events from the last 40 years have shaped artists' work.

On view are approximately 130 works by over 60 artists, including Kara Walker, Yoko Ono, Lynda Benglis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Agnes Martin, the Canadian collective known as General Idea, and, being shown for the first time since its acquisition, a huge screenprint by Robert Rauschenberg.

Co-curators Kathy Halbreich and Christopher Cherix are to be commended for assembling a show that is comprehensive, interesting, and at times whimsical.

While you are walking through the show take note of what looks like little scribbles on the walls throughout the galleries. They are by Yoko Ono. As you leave the museum, you might want to write a wish and pin it to Ms. Ono's wishing tree in the sculpture garden.

On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm, Titus Theater 1, Yoko Ono and Kara Walker will engage in a dialogue about their respective practices and share their perspectives on how social, political, and gender issues inform their work. I suggest you order your tickets now if you are interested.
Another section of Kara Walker's 50-foot-long wall mural.
Christopher Cherix, co-curator of the show. Mr. Cherix is MoMA's Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books.
Susan Morris, Media Producer, with Milan Hughston, MoMA's Chief of Library and Museum Archives. Lynda Benglis, Victor, 1974
Robert Rauschenberg, Currents, 1970. The 60-foot-long screen print is composed of press clippings from that time period.
Kim Conaty, assistant curator who worked on this installation. "I love the Rauschenberg. It's the first time we've been able to show this piece since we aquired it ... just mounting it on the wall is a complicated endeavor."
Gordon Matta-Clark, Bingo, 1974

Matta-clark cut these fragments from the facade of a house in Niagara Falls, new York, that was about to be demolished by the local housing commission. Working with a small team over the course of ten days, he cut the facade into nine equivalent rectangles, then removed each one until only the central rectangle remained, like the central section of a Bingo card. Minutes after they finished the extraction, the house was razed. The artist retained three sections and deposited the remaining five in a nearby sculpture park, where he hoped they would be "gradually reclaimed by the Niagara River Gorge."
Gilbert & George, To Be With Art Is All We Ask ... 1970
Pino Piscali, Bridge, 1968; Braided steel wool
Glenn Lowry, Director of MoMA, stands in front of a major installation by artist George Maciunas. A member of what is known as the Fluxus movement, Mr. Maciunas has incorporated emptied juice cans, sugar boxes, medicine containers, and candy bar wrappers--all relating to food and household products consumed by the artist over a period of one year.
Details of the exhibition.
Robert Morris, Poster for Robert Morris:
Labyrinths—Voice—Blind Time, 1974
Robert Mapplethorpe, Triptych: Self Portrait, 1972
Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Cosmetic Variations), January-February, 1972
General Idea, Proposed Seating Arrangement (Form Follows Fiction), 1975
Yoko Ono
Museum of Modern (F)art, 1971

Collection the artist (one copy); The Museum of Modern Art Library (one copy); Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008 (two copies)
Agnes Martin, Untitled Number 5, 1975
Marisa Merz, Untitled (Stave), 1993
Simon Hantaï, Untitled (Suite "Blancs"), 1973
On left: Daniel Buren, White Acrylic Painting on White and Anthracite Gray Striped Cloth, 1966.
On right: Black and White Striped Cloth. External white bands covered over with white paint, recto-verso.
I love this wall--the Aids wallpaper by General Idea used as a backdrop for Andy Warhol's 1984 painting, Rorschach, and Robert Mapplethorpe's Gelatin silver print, Hermes.
Mapplethorpe's spectacular photograph, Hermes.
Andy Warhol, Rorschach, 1984 Bruce Nauman, Punch and Judy II Birth & Life & Sex & Death, 1985
Artist AA Bronson, OC, who designed the Aids wallpaper, is an artist, magazine publisher and curator who co-founded the artists' group General Idea.
Felix Gonzales-Torres (American, born Cuba, 1957-1996); "Untitled" (Supreme Majority).
Sherrie Levine, Untitled (Mr. Austridge: 2), 1989. First time on view at MoMA. Lifted from the popular Krazy Kat cartoons of the 1920s, the ostrich character at the center of the work avoids the challenges of the world around it by burying its head in a can. David Hammons, African-American Flag, 1990. Mr. Hammons replaces the colors of the American flag with red, black and green, the colors of the Pan-African flag. On the floor is a video installation by Laurie Anderson.
Cady Noland, Tanya as Bandit, 1989; a silk screen print on aluminum and bandana. Lucy McKenzie, Untitled, 2002.
Liam Gillick (British, born 1964); The State Itself Becomes a Super Whatnot, 2008. Vinyl on wall, dimensions variable.
I've left the exit sign in the photograph as a poignant reminder of what we should have done a lot sooner than we did when we were a presence in Vietnam.
Cara Starke, Dinh Q. Lê, Klaus Biesenbach, and Stephanie Weber. Ms. Starke, Mr. Biesenbach, and Ms. Weber were the curators in charge of Projects 93: Dinh Q. Lê.
Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe, 2004-05
Yoko Ono, Wish Tree, 1996/2010
Tree, writing table, pens, and wish tags. This installation is on view in MoMA's sculpture Garden. The wishes are removed from the tree from time to time and are transferred to a plexiglas display box on the second floor for permanent "viewing."
Regina Weinreich, beat scholar and teacher at The School of Visual Arts, writing on tag to hang on wishing tree. April Hunt, Press Officer at P.S.1, and Flash Rosenberg, cartoonist and artist-in-residence at The New York Public Library.
Yoko Ono makes her entrance ...
Yoko Ono at opening night reception reprises
her 1961 Voice Piece for Soprano. Visitors to the exhibition are permitted to step up to the microphone and scream so don't be alarmed if you hear these variations as you wander through the galleries.
Yoko Ono with Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director of MoMA and co-curator of this exhibition. Ms. Halbreich came to MoMA in 2008. She was previously the Director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Salman Rushdie.
Paul Graham, a British photo artist who has shown at MoMA. Kalup Linzy, an artist represented in the show with a video installation.
Cildo Meireles, Thread, 1990-95
48 bales of hay, one 18-carat gold needle, and 58 meters of gold thread
First time on view at MoMA

Meireles creates sculptures and installations that tie everyday materials to larger political and philosophical concerns. Thread is a modular cube, a form evocative of the geometric rationality of Minimalist art, but it is constructed of a material generally associated with agriculture. At one end of the wire, a single 18-carat gold needle is inserted into the cube, recalling the common expression, "Like finding a needle in the haystack." The pairing of substances with different monetary values but that here are nearly indistinguishable visually suggests the precariousness of economic relationships, and the minute needle embedded in the massive cube may call to mind the place of the individual within a larger social system.
Co-curator Christopher Cherix points out the needle in haystack.
Jon Hendricks, a consulting curator for the Fluxus part of the show. Fluxus is an art movement in the 60s and 70s. I guess you could say it's bodycentric art as exemplified in the George Maciunas installation shown earlier in this Photo Journal. Nicolas Guagnin and Cindy Hinant. They are young artists who were at the opening night reception.
Thelma Golden, Director of The Studio Museum in Harlem, with Glenn Ligon, who has his arm around her. Mr. Ligon is an artist who is represented in the MoMA show with a 16 mm film transferred to video: The Death of Tom.
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Oldenburg with Richard Meier.
Kambui Oliejimi, a Brooklyn artist, with Glenn Ligon. Anna Fisher, who works as an artist liaison at the Greene Naftali art gallery, and Philipp Koralus, who is a philosopher.
Klaus Biesenbach, Director, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Art Critic Linda Yablonsky and Dinh Q. Lê, the Vietnamese artist of the helicopter installation.
Kara Walker, whose 50-foot-long mural is at the entrance to the exhibition. Ella Asnin, 13, and Octavia Burgel, 12. Ms. Burgel is the daughter of Kara Walker.
Greta Gladney, artist Paul Chan, and two of Mr. Chan's friends who he invited to the opening night reception.
Greta Gladney is from New Orleans' 9th ward. Ms. Gladney has a video installation adjacent to artist Paul Chan's display. Her grandfather lost his house in lower 9 and her mother's house had twelve feet of water. Ms. Gladney flew up to New York as a guest of Mr. Chan's and participated in a panel discussion with him at the museum the night after the opening. Hilton Als, staff writer for The New Yorker.
Robert Lynn Green, Sr. from New Orleans stands in front of a large photograph of himself which is part of the installation by artist Paul Chan. Mr. Green was a resident of one of the neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

"Our house became a boat. We floated on the roof from 1826 Tennessee Street to 1617 Tennessee Street. We had seven people up there hanging on. At 4:30 in the afternoon we lost my grand-daughter who was 3 years old. At 1 in the morning we lost my mother. So they both died on the first day of the hurricane. We had tried to evacuate the day before--first to the dome, which was full, and then to Houston, but we couldn't get out of the city. My house has been rebuilt by Brad Pitt and the Make it Right Foundation."

"I'm a tax accountant by profession and now I meet and greet all the people in New Orleans who come to me for help."
Paul Chan, Amanda Sharp (publisher of Frieze Magazine), Kathy Heilbreich, Robert Lynn Green Sr., and Greta Gladney at the end of a great evening at MoMA.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz; all rights reserved.