Artist’s Choice

Grace Wales Bonner—Spirit Movers

Nov 18, 2023–Apr 7, 2024

MoMA

Ruth Bernhard. Hall Johnson Conducting His Negro Choir. 1938. Gelatin silver print, 7 1/4 × 9 1/8" (18.4 × 23.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase
  • MoMA, Floor 1, 1 North

“Beyond the single, immaculate individual expression, I hear an enthralling symphony,” says the acclaimed London-based designer Grace Wales Bonner. For this exhibition, the latest installment of MoMA’s celebrated Artist’s Choice series, Wales Bonner has gathered nearly 40 artworks from the Museum’s collection that explore sound, movement, performance, and style in the African diaspora and beyond. She brings together artists from around the world and across generations, including Terry Adkins, Moustapha Dimé, Agnes Martin, Man Ray, Betye Saar, and David Hammons. The works presented are not static objects or images but dynamic entities deeply connected to ritual, devotion, and collective experience. Sculptures seem to tremble with sound; scores evoke ceremonies; drawings trace states of reverie. These intimate and poetic relations inspired Wales Bonner’s title for the exhibition, Spirit Movers.

Wales Bonner has changed the way we see style. Every detail of her interdisciplinary fashion designs, publications, exhibitions, and films is related to histories, archives, and cultural identities across the diasporic world. Spirit Movers creates a deeply personal meditation on Black expression—and reflects Wales Bonner’s commitment to archival research as a form of spirituality and an aesthetic practice.

Organized by Grace Wales Bonner with Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator, and Dana Liljegren, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art; and with the collaboration of Nick Murphy, Curatorial Partner, Pantograph, Paris.

Thanks to Liam Sangmuah and Jessica Hamenyimana, Research Associates, Wales Bonner.

  • This exhibition is part of Artist’s Choice.
  • The Artist’s Choice exhibition series is made possible through The Agnes Gund Artist’s Choice Fund endowed by Iara Lee and George Gund III, Lulie and Gordon Gund, Ann and Graham Gund, and Sarah and Geoffrey Gund.

    Additional funding is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.

    Support for the publication is provided by the Dale S. and Norman Mills Leff Publication Fund and by The Museum of Modern Art’s Research and Scholarly Publications endowment established through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Edward John Noble Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Perry R. Bass, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Challenge Grant Program.

    Publication

    • Grace Wales Bonner: Dream in the Rhythm Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 184 pages

    Artists

    Installation images

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