• MoMA, Floor 4, 420 The David Geffen Galleries

“I am talking about the inherent human need to survive, ethnically, culturally, morally. This is what I need to put on canvas,” explained Benny Andrews, one of many artists who chose to confront hardship, both personal and global, in their work in the 1970s. The war in Vietnam, political violence in Chile and the Sudan, and other world events and conflicts provided subject matter for many. The internal struggles necessary to cope with such a world led others to focus on more intimate topics.

In some of these works, thickly applied or oozing materials suggest violence, while elsewhere dark undercurrents emerge through the transformation of familiar symbols and forms like flags, crosses, and flowers. All of these artists shared the view that art was critical to survival, both for themselves and for their audiences.

15 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

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).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

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].