Joseph Yoakum

What I Saw

Nov 28, 2021–Mar 19, 2022

MoMA

Joseph E. Yoakum. Grizzly Gulch Valley Ohansburg Vermont. n.d. Black ballpoint pen and watercolor on paper, 7 7/8 × 9 7/8" (20 × 25.1 cm). Gift of the Raymond K. Yoshida Living Trust and Kohler Foundation, Inc. © 2021 Joseph E. Yoakum
  • MoMA, Floor 2, 2 South The Paul J. Sachs Galleries

At age 71, artist Joseph Yoakum (1891–1972) began making landscape drawings of the places he had travelled to over the course of his life. “Wherever my mind led me, I would go,” he said. “I’ve been all over this world four times.”

Joseph Yoakum: What I Saw presents over 100 of Yoakum’s works. Drawn from memories, both real and imagined, his landscapes reveal a world no one has seen before or since: it is dense with swelling landforms, serpentine empty roads, and evergreen foliage, and almost always empty of people. The works reflect Yoakum’s religious faith and exploration of the tenets of Christian Science as much as they do his experience as a man of color in the United States over the course of the 20th century. He depicted events like major naval voyages and UFO sightings, and represented notable figures of African American history and culture in portrait drawings.

Joseph Yoakum: What I Saw provides a unique opportunity to see and celebrate the world as Yoakum did, and offers new discoveries about his working process, the development of his style, and the ways he imbued the living landscape with his shifting sense of personal identity.

Organized by Esther Adler, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA; Mark Pascale, Janet and Craig Duchossois Curator of Prints and Drawings, The Art Institute of Chicago; and Édouard Kopp, John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator, Menil Drawing Institute, Houston.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Dian Woodner Exhibition Endowment Fund.

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].