Over the last two years, MoMA’s Citizens and Borders initiative has explored histories of migration and creativity through public programs and such exhibitions as Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter, Bouchra Khalili: The Mapping Journey Project, and One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North.
In this digital exhibition, we highlight a selection of works in our collection by artists who immigrated to the US, often as refugees in search of safe haven, bringing their ideas and talents with them. The works were chosen by staff across the Museum. They represent a range of mediums—painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, film, design, and architecture—and a span of nearly 100 years. Across the course of the last year, the issue of immigration to this country has become ever more central to public discourse, often cast in terms of potential threat. Yet the flow of ideas and people with varied backgrounds and experiences has been a consistent driver of innovation and creativity. Indeed, the history of modern art is a history of global turmoil, migration, and transnational exchange. American culture has flourished through the contributions of artists from around the world. The collection of The Museum of Modern Art reflects this fact.
This digital exhibition is part of Citizens and Borders, a series of discrete projects at MoMA related to works in the collection that offer a critical perspective on histories of migration, territory, and displacement.