Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988

May 10–August 24, 2014


The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor

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The Museum of Modern Art presents a major retrospective devoted to the art of Lygia Clark (Brazilian, 1920–1988), the first comprehensive exhibition in North America of her work. Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988 comprises nearly 300 works made between the late 1940s and her death in 1988. Drawn from public and private collections, including MoMA’s own, this survey is organized around three key themes: abstraction, Neo-Concretism, and the “abandonment” of art. Each of these axes anchors a significant concept or a constellation of works that mark a definitive step in Clark’s career. While Clark’s legacy in Brazil is profound, this exhibition draws international attention to her work. By bringing together all parts of her radical production, the exhibition seeks to reintroduce her into current discourses of abstraction, participation, and a therapeutic art practice.

Lygia Clark (1920–1988) trained in Rio de Janeiro and Paris from late 1940s to mid-1950s and was a leading abstract artist at the forefront of the Neo-Concretist movement in Brazil, fostering the active participation of spectators through her works. From the late 1960s through the 1970s she created a series of unconventional artworks in parallel to a lengthy psychoanalytic therapy, leading her to develop a series of therapeutic propositions grounded in art. Clark has become a major reference for contemporary artists dealing with the limits of conventional forms of art.

Museum facilitators will be present in the galleries to help visitors experience of a selection of Clark’s "sensorial objects."

Facilitator schedule:

Mondays, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays, 12:00–3:00 p.m.
Wednesdays, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Thursdays, 12:00–3:00 p.m.
Fridays, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Saturdays, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Sundays, 1:00–4:00 p.m.

Organized by Luis Pérez-Oramas, The Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, MoMA; and Connie Butler, Chief Curator, Hammer Museum; with Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Curatorial Assistant, and Beatriz Rabelo Olivetti, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by Ricardo and Susana Steinbruch, The Modern Women’s Fund, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Vicky and Joseph Safra Foundation, and the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Johanna Stein-Birman and Alexandre Birman, Consulate General of Brazil in New York, Patricia Fossati Druck, Roberto and Aimée Servitje, Frances Reynolds, The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Fogo de Chão, the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Research and travel support was provided by the Patricia Cisneros Travel Fund for Latin America.

The related film series is supported by Richard I. Kandel.

Lygia Clark wearing <i>Máscara abismo com tapa-olhos</i> (Abyssal mask with eye-patch, 1968), a work made of fabric, elastic bands, a nylon bag, and a stone, in use. Courtesy Associação Cultural "O Mundo de Lygia Clark," Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Sergio Gerardo Zalis, 1986

Lygia Clark wearing Máscara abismo com tapa-olhos (Abyssal mask with eye-patch, 1968), a work made of fabric, elastic bands, a nylon bag, and a stone, in use. Courtesy Associação Cultural "O Mundo de Lygia Clark," Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Sergio Gerardo Zalis, 1986

MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me


Held in conjunction with the exhibition, MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me is an interactive space that explores the intersections between art, therapeutic practice, and the ways in which we relate to objects and people through physical encounters. Taking Lygia Clark’s art as a reference point, the Studio presents a series of drop-in programs, participatory experiences, and artist-led workshops that reveal the profound resonance Clark’s work has had with contemporary artists. Collaborating artists include Ricardo Basbaum, Carlito Carvalhosa, Stephanie Diamond and Tamara Vanderwal, Michel Groisman, Jeanine Oleson, and Allison Smith.

Related Classes


Classes, artist-led immersions, and experiences can help you develop new perspectives and become a part of a community of learners unlike any other.

Lygia Clark: Objects, Bodies, and Other Matters
6:30–8:45 p.m., 6/17, 6/24, 7/1