Collection 1980s–Present


Surface Tension

Fall 2019–Fall 2021


Laura Owens. Untitled. 2013. Acrylic, Flashe, and oil stick on canvas, 137 3/8 × 119 7/8" (348.9 × 304.5 cm). Enid A. Haupt Fund
  • MoMA, Floor 2, 214

On the walls and streets of the city, layers of pictures, signage, and graffiti build up over time, creating a palimpsest that preserves traces of the past in an otherwise changing environment. That flux is captured in painting using erasure and collage, often aided by digital tools. In sculpture, dents and folds distort ordinary objects and expected forms, speaking to the malleability of our surroundings. Made in the first decades of this century, these works reflect the fragmentation of the physical and digital worlds we inhabit, admitting the impossibility of a cohesive image.

Organized by Roxana Marcoci, The David Dechman Senior Curator, Department of Photography and Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, with Giampaolo Bianconi, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance.

14 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

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