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August 19, 2016  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? The Final Quiz

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Welcome to the final installment of the Do You Know Your MoMA? quiz!

How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view in the Museum—please submit your answers in the comments. We’ll provide the answers next week in an update to this post. Good luck! Read more

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From the Archives: Faith Ringgold, the Art Workers Coalition, and the Fight for Inclusion at The Museum of Modern Art
Faith Ringgold. American People Series #20: Die. 1967. Oil on canvas, two panels, 72 × 144″ (182.9 × 365.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase, and gift of Sarah Peter. © 2016 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Faith Ringgold. American People Series #20: Die. 1967. Oil on canvas, two panels, 72 × 144″ (182.9 × 365.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase, and gift of Sarah Peter. © 2016 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

After seeing Faith Ringgold’s monumental, harrowing painting, American People Series #20: Die (1967), currently installed in the Museum and reading Thomas J. Lax’s incredibly thoughtful and moving post (as well as this recent notice from ARTnews, I was inspired to reflect upon this new acquisition. Read more

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Restoring Teiji Furuhashi’s Lovers
The view from the entrance of Teiji Furuhashi's Lovers. 1994. Computer controlled, five-channel laser disc/sound installation with five projectors, two sound systems, two slide projectors, and slides (color, sound), overall 32' 10" x 32' 10" (1000 x 1000 cm). Gift of Canon Inc. © 2016 DUMB TYPE. Photo: Ben Fino-Radin

The view from the entrance of Teiji Furuhashi’s Lovers. 1994. Computer controlled, five-channel laser disc/sound installation with five projectors, two sound systems, two slide projectors, and slides (color, sound), overall 32′ 10″ x 32′ 10″ (1000 x 1000 cm). Gift of Canon Inc. © 2016 DUMB TYPE. Photo: Ben Fino-Radin

Imagine yourself standing in a dark, cavernous space: a perfectly square room with a high ceiling and black walls so dark that the clean, glossy white floor seems suspended in space. In the center of the room a tall metal tower beams light and emits the robotic sounds of computer-controlled motors. Read more

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July 15, 2016  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 7/15/16

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view in the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, August 19). Read more

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July 9, 2016  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions
How Do Black Lives Matter in MoMA’s Collection?

Less than a month after 49 people were killed and 53 wounded by a single gunman at a gay Latino party in Orlando, Florida, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s gruesome murders by police officers were captured on video and widely circulated. The two recordings of Sterling’s death were made by Abdullah Muflahi, a local store owner, and Arthur Reed, an activist, while Castile’s was made in a lucid, terrifying account by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, under police duress as he died next to her. At least 5.4 million people have seen Reynolds’s video as of Saturday morning. Read more

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Resurrection: The Conservation Treatment of Bruce Conner’s CHILD
From left: 1960 photograph of CHILD by Geoffrey Clements; 2015 photograph of CHILD prior to conservation treatment; CHILD after treatment in January 2016.

From left: 1960 photograph of CHILD by Geoffrey Clements; 2015 photograph of CHILD prior to conservation treatment; CHILD after treatment in January 2016

In the summer of 2014 the Department of Painting and Sculpture approached sculpture conservation to inquire if Bruce Conner’s work CHILD could be restored. CHILD was created in 1959 as a response to the sentencing of death-row inmate Caryl Chessman who had been incarcerated for the kidnapping and sexual molestation of a woman in Los Angeles. Conner responded to this high-profile capital punishment case and his visceral repulsion to it by creating a frightening sculpture of a deformed corpse-like child. Made from casting wax, the figure appears strapped to a wooden highchair with belt and twine, the head tilted backwards with a gaping or screaming mouth, and body veiled in torn and stretched nylon stockings. Read more

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June 17, 2016  |  Do You Know Your MoMA?
Do You Know Your MoMA? 6/17/16

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How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of these works from MoMA’s collection—all currently on view in the Museum—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, July 15). Read more

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June 16, 2016  |  Collection & Exhibitions
MoMA Teens x Dadaglobe Reconstructed
Jo-Anne (far left) and the 2016 Digital Advisory Board

Jo-Anne (far left) and the 2016 Digital Advisory Board

Last fall I was invited back to MoMA for another unique opportunity to work with the Department of Education’s Teen Programs. Initially, I was shocked—after doing an In the Making class in the summer of 2014 and being part of the incredible Cross Museum Collective the following year, I figured I had reached the apex of my involvement here. But of course MoMA, in all its mystifying generosity, had something else to offer: a position on the Digital Advisory Board. I knew little about what I would be doing, but the chance to be part of MoMA Teens again was something I couldn’t resist. I eagerly accepted. Arriving at the first meeting, I was delighted to see the familiar faces of my friends from the past two years, and together we all jumped down the rabbit hole.

We learned we’d be taking over all of MoMA Teens’ social media pages, posting content to Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook to our heart’s content. It was exciting and new, being able to work on such a large platform and essentially represent the “Artistic Teen of the Modern Age,” and I was ecstatic. Yet, as the weeks carried on, there was something more hinted at by our MoMA leaders Calder and Ali, something that, as far as the history of the Digital Advisory Board went, hadn’t been done before. And then, we met Samantha Friedman, an assistant curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints, who introduced us to Dadaglobe.

Behind the scenes of the DAB x Samantha Friedman interview

Behind the scenes of the DAB x Samantha Friedman interview

Teens in balloons, waiting to be filmed for the video intro...

Teens in balloons, waiting to be filmed for the video intro…

Dadaglobe, in the simplest terms, was manqué: something that could have been, but never was. A scattered relic lost essentially forever in time, Dadaglobe was a failed attempt in 1921 to bring together the movement of Dada, an operation that was already global and disjointed, into a published anthology. The aim, however, was not to formalize and sanction Dada into concrete terms, but to coalesce and embody, to provide a glimpse of an explosive campaign at its peak. Its mastermind and architect was Tristan Tzara, a well-known poet and a co-founder of Dada. Through a series of solicitation letters, he garnered the attention of artists from 10 countries, instructing them to carry out four different requests: 1) “send a clear photo of your head (not body), which you can alter freely, although it should retain clarity” 2) send “2 or 3 photos of your works,” 3) send “3 or 4 black-and-white drawings. . . . one drawing can be colorful, but containing no more than 2 to 3 colors,” and 4) if not sending a drawing, then “design a book page with or without text.”

The responses were nothing short of extraordinary. Drawings, collages, and photographs poured in, all ranging from straightforward executions of the instructions to complete defiance (it was Dada, after all). Samantha told us of one self-portrait sent by Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg (in the guise of his alter ego I.K. Bonset), who instead of sending a distinct photograph of his face, sent an image of the back of his head, with an adorning halo of text reading Je suis contre tout et tous—”I am against everything and everyone.” It was utterly and entirely Dada, and I completely fell in love. Learning of Dadaglobe for the first time, discovering this trove of works belonging to a movement I was already thoroughly enamored with, made me feel like a kid in a candy store with an empty stomach and an endless budget. Putting all my childlike glee aside, I knew that we weren’t given a presentation of Dadaglobe simply because it was a neat piece of lost art history; our new roles as Digital Advisory Board members would finally be set in motion.

As MoMA prepared to open its exhibition Dadaglobe Reconstructed on June 12, which reunites over 100 works made for the publication, we discovered that those of us on the Digital Advisory Board would be working together to construct our own homage to Dadaglobe. Following Tzara’s original instructions, we were asked to create works of art in the unbridled spirit of Dada to be published in conjunction with the exhibition. It was exciting news, no doubt, but presented a challenge. How could we adapt and recreate something that was born and functioned to reject the specific principles of a society torn apart by war, under circumstances that no longer existed today? How could we faithfully translate the temperament of Dada to reflect the 21st century? There were no clear answers, but we approached it the only way we could: head on.

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Jo-Anne’s page layout

We began with layouts for book pages. Naturally, there were no rules to what or how we could make, only to create how we saw fit. I have to admit I struggled at first; my mind was saturated with ideas and images, but materializing them with the clever subtleties that seemed to come naturally to the Dadaists was something I thought I wasn’t capable of. Looking back, I can say it never really mattered anyways. I wanted to introduce the tangible social elements of living in 2016, and bring attention to them through mockery and jest. For one collage, I decided to take a picture of Donald Trump with his wife, cover her with a picture of Hillary Clinton to pose them as a rather stylish couple, and replace their lower halves with poised, feminine legs. My motivation was not so much to demean or emasculate either presidential candidate, but really because the idea made me laugh. I tend to think that laughter is the best way to cope with the absurd current events of our time.

Jo-Anne's Dadaglobe-inspired self portrait

Jo-Anne’s Dadaglobe-inspired self portrait

Self-portraits were next. There was lots of inspiration to draw from concerning the actual submissions for Dadaglobe: van Doesburg and the unapologetically defiant back of his head, artists like Johannes Theodor Baargeld and Max Ernst who pasted their own faces onto and next to other cut-out images, or Francis Picabia, who, for one part of his submission, simply signed his name on a piece of paper. I decided to keep my face unobscured, however. Under normal circumstances, the concept of my face being mass printed would have horrified me, but I saw the call for self-portraits as something more than a vehicle for identification. I wanted to recontextualize myself in a space where I could see myself objectively, as a collection of lines and arrangements of color rather than a person onto which judgements and prejudice could be cast.

A drawing by Jo-Anne, inspired by both Dadaglobe as well as Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel"

A drawing by Jo-Anne, inspired by both Dadaglobe as well as Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel

We then moved onto original drawings, for which we limited ourselves to traditional dip pens and black ink. There was something kind of wholly organic about creating the drawings, composing scenes only through stretching black lines and blocks of ink. I think all of us approached the drawings with a sense of assured confidence and lack of restraint; we simply let our hands speak for us. The works we made during that period we all distinctly different, yet distinctly ours.

An image of an "artwork" that never existed

An image of an “artwork” that never existed

The only thing left was to create images of artworks, and here we were truly inspired by how playful the Dadaglobe artists were. The goal, it seemed, was not to capture an artwork accurately with a camera, but to explore how the photographic process and reproduction could manipulate how drawings, collages, or random objects were perceived. For example, one piece I especially enjoyed was a submission by Man Ray, who photographed a random and essentially meaningless concrete and wood structure in an empty lot, and called it La plus belle sculpture d’Amérique—the most beautiful sculpture in America. Using collage for this witty, almost mischievous purpose was a delight. Unlike our layouts for book pages, there wasn’t a particular or single message to convey, therefore we felt a kind of feeling of triumph in creating new works of art out of arbitrary images and fabricating meaning out of “nothing.”

But of course, it had to end. We had made dozens of Dada-esque works, consumed probably several pantry’s worth of snacks, and managed to bring what seemed like an impossible task into an awesome reality. It was hard, but incredibly rewarding work that allowed us to genuinely experience and partake in a small sliver of the art world. Dadaglobe Reconstructed is now open to the public, and for the first time the world will get to see Dada as the Dadaists sought to represent it.

I want to end on a quote expressed by Hugo Ball, a founding member of Dada: “For us, art is not an end in itself, but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.” As the Digital Advisory Board, our objective was not to merely recreate Dadaglobe art for contemporary times, but to utilize the blunt, untainted lens of Dada to perceive those times—and perhaps even criticize them. For it seems as long as the Earth continues to turn, the timeless doctrine of Dada will always endure, illuminating our lives.

Dadaglobe Reconstructed is on view now through September 18, 2016. More info HERE. Special thanks to Jo-Anne Naarendorp and all of the 2016 Digital Advisory Board members: Jocelyn Aldaz, Ashley Aviles, Kevin Cruz, Cara Hernandez, Anatola Pabst, Oksana Pligina, and Yvonne Zagzag. Extra special thanks to Eva Kozanecka, Ali Santana, and Samantha Friedman. Follow @momateens on Instagram for more teen-created content.

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June 15, 2016  |  Collection & Exhibitions
MoMA Collects: New Photography 2015, Part 2
DIS. Positive Ambiguity (beard, lectern, teleprompter, wind machine, confidence). 2015. Installation view, Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, The Museum of Modern Art, November 7, 2015–March 20, 2016. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Thomas Griesel

DIS. Positive Ambiguity (beard, lectern, teleprompter, wind machine, confidence). 2015. Installation view, Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, The Museum of Modern Art, November 7, 2015–March 20, 2016. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Thomas Griesel

In January I wrote about five artists who had come into MoMA’s collection through Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, the most recent iteration of the New Photography series, which has a long history of bringing new works by young artists into the Museum. Read more

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June 1, 2016  |  Collection & Exhibitions
MoMA Collects: David Tudor’s Rainforest V (Variation 1)
David Tudor and Composers Inside Electronics. Rainforest V (Variation 1). 1973–2015. Sound installation of 20 objects, dimensions variable. Installation view, Broadway 1602. Courtesy Broadway 1602, New York

David Tudor and Composers Inside Electronics. Rainforest V (Variation 1). 1973–2015. Sound installation of 20 objects, dimensions variable. Installation view, Broadway 1602. Courtesy Broadway 1602, New York

“My piece Rainforest IV was developed from ideas I had as early as 1965…. An offer came, which didn’t get realized…I was asked to make a proposal for a park in Washington. The idea was to have a sounding outdoor sculpture, so my mind began turning around. I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if each sculpture sounded completely different from the other and the whole could be run by one machine . . . .'” – David Tudor Read more