Contemporary Art in the Garden



Wangechi Mutu. MamaRay. 2020. Bronze, 65" × 16' × 12' (165.1 × 487.7 × 365.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds and gifts of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Frances Archipenko Gray (both by exchange). © 2023 Wangechi Mutu. Photo: Adam Neese
  • MoMA, Floor 1, Sculpture Garden The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden

A new installation enlivens the Sculpture Garden with contemporary art that breaks convention. Nearly all of the works on view were made in the last 20 years. Highlights include Wangechi Mutu’s Mama Ray (2020), a bronze sculpture inspired by mythological sea creatures from the coast of East Africa, where lore is filled with alluring yet frightening water-women; Jimmie Durham’s YOU ARE HERE* (2020), a poetic rendering of Midtown Manhattan that gives the exhibition its name; and Nairy Baghramian’s Reclining (Pauline) (2023), a resolutely abstract work, completed just this spring, with seemingly supple forms that evoke the softness of the human body. Not bound to a dominant style or shared attitude, these works reflect the many interests unique to their makers, whose personal histories, geographies, and cultures are as varied as the world we inhabit.

The 21st-century works on view enter into a dialogue with the Garden’s perennial favorites—the Backs of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso’s She Goat, and Aristide Maillol’s fallen female figure, The River—in a way that underscores the importance of conversations across time and of understanding the art of the past in the present moment.

Since its opening in 1939, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden has been one of New York City’s most beloved green spaces. It was conceived as an outdoor gallery for changing installations that would bring nature, architecture, and art together in a new way. In 1953, the Sculpture Garden was redesigned as a “roofless room,” with four distinct, marble-paved areas for displaying sculpture along with fountain pools, trees, and seasonal plantings. Over the years, the Sculpture Garden found other uses—exhibitions, performances, even protests—that reflect the Museum’s experimental nature. In this spirit, YOU ARE HERE* Contemporary Art in the Garden celebrates the art of our time.

Organized by Cara Manes and Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curators, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Beekeeping services for this installation provided by Andrew Coté of Andrew’s Honey.

Leadership support for the exhibition is provided by Eva and Glenn Dubin.

Additional funding is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi Haas, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art. Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by The Sundheim Family Foundation.


Installation images

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