Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection is a sweeping reinstallation of MoMA’s Contemporary Galleries. This cross-medium selection of works, created in the past three decades by more than 30 international artists, represents a wide range of approaches to the political, social, and cultural flux that have shaped the current global landscape. Some of these artists use the lens of history—reflecting on past events or centuries-old artistic traditions—as a means of assessing current conditions. In Scene for a New Heritage, the project that lends the exhibition its title, Croatian artist David Maljković uses an abandoned socialist monument to imagine an alternate future, one informed by events of the past but never realized. Other artists fight to stave off collective amnesia through projects of commemoration; trace the crosscurrents of trade; follow patterns of migration to swelling urban centers; or explore channels for capturing, circulating, and distributing images in today’s highly digitized society—from mobile phones to online platforms. Made under a diverse range of geographic, political, social, and aesthetic circumstances, the works in the exhibition propose one perspective on the Museum’s collection; seen alongside one another, they allow for a reflection not only on their discrepancies, differences, and contradictions, but also on their shared concerns.
A number of works return to the galleries after extended absences—Cai Guo-Qiang’s monumental Borrowing Your Enemy’s Arrows, a fishing boat pierced by several thousand arrows, is displayed at the Museum for the first time in over a decade—while some 20 works are on view for the first time at MoMA. The latter group includes Gamepieces, a multimedia installation by Nalini Malani that deftly blends mythology and history; Haegue Yang’s Sallim, a sculptural reinterpretation of the artist’s Berlin kitchen; and Alfredo Jaar’s landmark project Lament of the Images. Other featured artists include Luis Camnitzer, Camille Henrot, Feng Mengbo, Rabih Mroué, Allan Sekula, and Kara Walker.
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.