Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thai, born Argentina 1961). untitled (the days of this society is numbered / December 7, 2012). 2014. Synthetic polymer paint and newspaper on linen, 87 × 84 1/2″ (221 × 214.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Drawings and Prints Fund, 2014. © 2015 Rirkrit Tiravanija
Cai Guo-Qiang (Chinese, born 1957). Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows. 1998. Wood boat, arrows, metal, rope, canvas sail, flag, and electric fan, overall approx 60″ x 23′ 7″ x 7′ 6″ (152.4 x 720 x 230 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honor of Glenn D. Lowry,1999. © 2015 Cai Guo Qiang
"Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection "
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Contemporary Galleries, second floor
March 8, 2015 – April 10, 2016
A sweeping reinstallation of The Museum of Modern Art’s contemporary collection presents a wide range of artistic approaches to the political, social, and cultural flux that have shaped the current global landscape. Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection, on view from March 8, 2015, through April 10, 2016, features video, installation, sculpture, drawing, prints, and photography created in the past three decades by more than 30 international artists, with more than half of the works on view for the first time. Scenes for a New Heritage is organized by Quentin Bajac, the Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography; Eva Respini, Curator, Department of Photography; Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art; and Sarah Suzuki, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints; with Katerina Stathopoulou, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography.
The last 30 years have seen remarkable societal and cultural change, as major shifts in geopolitical dynamics destabilized the established world order, new economies emerged to challenge those long dominant, and the Internet radically altered the ways in which we access and generate information. New networks developed in response to this era of unprecedented global exchange, encompassing not only goods, knowledge, currency, and power, but also the creation, distribution, and reception of art. Made by artists working across mediums and under a diverse range of geographic, political, social, and aesthetic circumstances, the works in the exhibition are considered in dialogue, allowing us to reflect not only on their differences, but also to consider their shared concerns, offering a new perspective on the Museum’s Collection.
A number of works will return to the galleries after extended absences; Cai Guo-Qiang’s (Chinese, b. 1957) monumental Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows (1998), a fishing boat pierced by thousands of arrows, will be displayed at the Museum for the first time in over a decade. Among the works that will be on view for the first time at MoMA are Gamepieces (2003/2009), a multimedia installation by Nalini Malani (Indian, b. 1946) that deftly blends mythology and history; Haegue Yang’s (Korean, b. 1971) Sallim (2009), a sculptural reinterpretation of the artist's Berlin kitchen; and Alfredo Jaar’s (Chilean, b. 1956) landmark project Lament of the Images (2002).
Either by subverting traditional artistic forms or deliberately picking very contemporary ones, the artists in the exhibition’s first section invent new narratives that challenge accepted versions of history in different ways. Their works reflect, directly or indirectly, upon the state of the world today, while echoing some of the political changes of the last 25 years. In David Maljković's (Croatian, b. 1973) Scene for new heritage, the project comprising both videos and drawings that lends the exhibition its title, the artist employs an abandoned Socialist monument to project an alternate future informed by events of the past.
Feng Mengbo (Chinese, b. 1966) examines the collapse and resilience of the communist system in his video game Long March: Restart (2008). The people who were “disappeared” in Colombia and Uruguay as a result of oppressive political regimes are recalled in the installation Atrabiliarios (1992–93), by Doris Salcedo (Columbia, b. 1958), and Memorial (2009), a portfolio of 195 digital prints by Luis Camnitzer (Uruguayan, b. 1937), respectively. The violence embedded in American history is central to Kara Walker’s (American, b. 1969) Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b’tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994) and Cady Noland’s (American, b. 1956) THE AMERICAN TRIP (1988). Mladen Stilinović's (Croatian, b. 1945) Exploitation of the Dead (1984–90) refers to the exploitation of both dead poetics of avant-garde paintings and of dead signs that have changed their religious and ideological meanings in the course of time.
The exhibition’s second section examines the myriad ways in which artists have addressed current conditions through the lens of cultural and aesthetic tradition, with an attendant reinvestigation of methods, materials, and motifs. Kerstin Brätsch (German, b. 1979) apprenticed with the master artisan Dirk Lange to learn paper marbling, a decorative technique popularized in 19th-century Europe, which she employed to make her massive work on paper, Unstable Talismanic Rendering 27 (2014). Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b. 1962) references various Japanese aesthetic traditions in his painting 727 (1996), merging the echo of Katsushika Hokusai’s 18th-century images of the Great Wave, Meiji-era nihonga (Japanese-style painting), and a 20th-century anime-inspired character to create a monumental image that relies equally on the past and the present.
The exhibition also explores patterns of migration and immigration and the impact of postcolonial and globalized economies on commodity production, urban life, and labor, as in Alan Sekula’s (American, 1951–2013) photographic work Fish Story (1988–95), which documents the central role of the sea in the modern global economy. The works in this section investigate the conditions of new urban landscapes, including the effects of gentrification, renewal, and violence in the city. In his elegiac video Broken Mirror (1999), Chinese artist Song Dong (b. 1966) confronts China’s struggle to maintain tradition in the face of fast-paced urbanization, while the 2011 video Cantiere Barca, by the Berlin-based architecture collective Raumlabor, explores possibilities for urban renewal with local resources. Everyday objects and situations inspire artworks that link the private and public spheres, such as Haegue Yang’s Sallim, which transplants the domestic space of the artist's kitchen into the Museum's galleries.
The final section of the exhibition examines the circulation and mutability of images and the ways they are produced, translated, and consumed in the global digital culture. The featured artists are aware of the increasingly complicated notion of the "documentary" in the digital age. The 2004 video essay November, by Hito Steyerl (German, b. 1966), delves into the role of images in revolution and their power to create new debates. The Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué (b. 1967) investigates the use of cellular phones in documenting the Syrian revolution with his 2012 Blow Ups inkjet prints, while in Grosse Fatigue (2013), the French artist Camille Henrot (b. 1978) attempts to tell the story of the universe’s creation, appropriating shots from prestigious collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., together with found and recorded images.