Electronic Music, ‘Ear Witnessing,’ and More Sound-Forward Work to Appear in MoMA’s Permanent Collection Galleries

Alongside paintings and sculptures by postwar masters, visitors to New York’s Museum of Modern Art next year will be able to see—and hear—a range of sound-focused works by a few of today’s most cutting-edge artists, some of which will be on hand to perform live in the galleries.

These works will appear at the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, a space for experimental performance art, video art, film, dance, and music that has now revealed its 2023 program.

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The space, located not far from the galleries where MoMA now shows work by Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists, has regularly hosted attention-grabbing works that have received praise from critics since its opening in 2019.

Nora Turato received positive notices for a performance piece that vaguely recalled a TED Talk, Shahryar Nashat staged a piece incorporating video and dance that explored how artworks are perceived, and the experimental dancer Okwui Okpokwasili recently had a residency there. Historical works, including rarely shown installations by video art pioneer Shigeko Kubota, have also been exhibited in the Studio.

Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance art, said in an interview with ARTnews that the Studio is intended to help envision “the museum as a living and organic site. We’re reimagining history and also providing an opportunity for emerging artists to find their connections to those histories.”

First up in 2023 will be a performance art festival related to MoMA’s current show about Just Above Midtown, Linda Goode Bryant’s short-lived but hugely influential New York gallery that had the aim of boosting Black artists at a time when few mainstream spaces did. Set to be staged in February, that festival will include, among other pieces, the latest work by Senga Nengudi, who has collaborated for it with Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees.

In April, in tandem with MoMA’s first video-art survey in decades, the Studio will host Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s video installation Walled Unwalled (2018), which is owned by MoMA. The piece exhibits what Abu Hamdan has called “ear witnessing,” the practice of using listening as a form of evidence, and explores legal cases in which sounds heard through partitions like walls and doors have played a crucial role.

After that presentation’s run, in July, composer and performer Pamela Z will have a residency in which she will devise a new song cycle Simultaneous, which will also be exhibited in an installation format. In September, Suzanne Ciani and Sarah Davachi will perform electronic music works; the pairing is meant to spur an intergenerational dialogue between the two, who are separated by about 40 years, with Ciani often considered an influential figure to younger artists like Davachi.

The Studio’s program in 2023 will be capped by a new installation by Alexandre Estrela, whose work Flat Bells will involve a soundscape and video animations. That piece will explore the relationship between man and machine.

Projects in this year’s program are organized by a range of curators from the media and performance art department, including Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Ana Janevski, and Martha Joseph, as well as Sophie Cavoulacos, an associate curator in the film department.

“We’re learning so much from what it means to have a space like this in the museum,” Comer said. “It creates unique questions that will probably impact what we do, even how we collect work.”

Source: artnews.com

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