Martin Kippenberger. Untitled from the series Dear Painter, Paint for Me. c. 1981. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. 240 x 299.1 cm. Promised gift of Steven and Alexandra Cohen. © 2011 Estate Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.
Doris Salcedo. Untitled. 1995. Wood, cement, steel, cloth, and leather. 236.2 x 104.1 x 48.2 cm. The Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation, Inc. Fund and purchase.
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
Contemporary Galleries, second floor
November 17, 2011-February 8, 2012
The Museum of Modern Art opens a new installation in the Contemporary Galleries, a chronological presentation of works from the collection made during the past 30 years. Furthering the historical sequence found on MoMA’s fifth (1880-1940) and fourth (1940-1980) floors, the installation interweaves works from all of MoMA’s curatorial departments to present a wide spectrum of contemporary art of the period. Within the overall chronological flow, individual galleries address particular topics, ranging from specific locales that nourished influential groups of artists to preoccupations shared by figures of the same generation. Other galleries focus on one artist or a single significant installation. The Contemporary Galleries will undergo periodic reinstallations to feature the variety of art produced during this period, and reflecting the depth and richness of the Museum's collection. The new installation is organized through a collaborative effort among curators from all seven curatorial departments at MoMA.
This installation presents a number of significant acquisitions that have not previously been exhibited, including works by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Senga Nengudi, Albert Oehlen, Martin Wong, Huma Bhabha, George Condo, and Andrea Zittel. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled (Free/Still) (1992 / 1995 / 2007 / 2011-) is an interactive artwork in which Thai curry is served to the public free of charge during designated hours. It was first displayed in 1992 at New York’s 303 Gallery, where Tiravanija outfitted the gallery with a refrigerator, cooking utensils, and several tables and chairs and offered Thai curry and a social space to sit and eat to all who visited. For the first presentation of the work since its acquisition earlier this year, vegetarian curry made by MoMA’s restaurant staff will be served to visitors daily from noon to 3 p.m. in Tiravanija’s installation, except on Fridays, when it will be served from 4-7 p.m, through February 8, 2012.
On view for the first time in two decades is artist Keith Haring’s Untitled (1982), a 56-foot-long drawing on two sheets of paper. Graphically imposing, it depicts apocalyptic events rendered in Haring’s signature style that conjures comics and graffiti. The work was a gift to the Museum by the Keith Haring Foundation. Martin Wong’s Stanton near Forsyth Street (1983), one of his Lower East Side cityscapes, encapsulates the crucial components of his painting practice during the most important period of his working life. It is the first work by Wong to be acquired by the Museum. Another recent acquisition, Albert Oehlen’s Untitled (1989), is part of a series of large-scale abstract paintings that marks a decisive break with his earlier, figurative work.
Several monographic galleries allow for focused examinations of specific artists or works. Steve McQueen’s Deadpan (1997) is an early video installation by this important British filmmaker that pays homage to the work of Buster Keaton. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (Placebo) (1991) consists of an expanse of shimmering, silver-wrapped candy, of which visitors are invited to take a piece. Continuously replaced, the work embodies a process of depletion and regeneration. Made after his partner died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, “Untitled” (Placebo) is a poetic enactment of a life cycle tragically shortened. Andrea Zittel’s A-Z Escape Vehicle (1996) is one in a series of uniquely customized metal pods whose form resembles a recreational trailer. A gallery dedicated to Doris Salcedo’s sculptures, composed of found materials such as domestic furniture, remnants of clothing, and human bones, addresses the effects of political violence in her native Colombia.
Film is represented by a gallery dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998), an allusive video collage of film-clips, still photographs, on-screen text, and images of the filmmaker and other performers that is scored with a profusion of sound and music devices. A selection of films by Stan Brakhage will be screened daily at 3 p.m. in the Time Warner Screening Room on the 2nd floor of the Museum’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building.
Certain galleries are devoted to cities where strong artist’s communities developed at specific points in the last three decades. An installation dedicated to New York in the 1980s explores the period of creative revitalization in such neighborhoods as the East Village and Soho and features artists who frequently worked across disciplines and in collaboration with one another, including Ashley Bickerton, George Condo, Nan Goldin, and Sherrie Levine. A gallery devoted to Cologne in the 1980s explores the conceptually-oriented works of such artists as Günther Förg, Georg Herold, Martin Kippenberger, Reinhard Mucha, and Oehlen. Another gallery includes works by Senga Nengudi, Ana Mendieta, and Louise Bourgeois.
A highlight of the last part of the exhibition is a monumental autobiographical video installation by Dieter Roth, Solo Scenes (1997-98). Created in the final months of the artist’s life, this tour de force work offers a meditative, melancholic view of the day-to-day activities of the artist.