press release

NEW YORK, September 9, 2008—Here is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art, the fifth in a series of ongoing installations in MoMA’s second floor Contemporary Galleries, brings together more than 100 works of film and performance, photography, painting, sculpture, prints, drawing, and video drawn from MoMA’s collection. Here is Every attempts to link today’s artists with their historical predecessors from the 1970s, an era whose cultural and sociopolitical shifts profoundly impacted the current diversity of contemporary art. Topics such as the relationship between the body and sculpture, the Vietnam War and its legacy, the representation of the changing urban landscape, political dissent, and the radical transformation of media culture map a narrative through the art of the recent past. The exhibition includes several major recent acquisitions never before on view at MoMA by artists including Matthew Barney, Tony Conrad, Nan Goldin, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, and David Wojnarowicz.

Here is Every is organized by Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Chief Curator of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art, and is on view from September 10, 2008, to March 23, 2009. This installation, one of a series highlighting the Museum's Contemporary Collection, is made possible by The Bank of New York Mellon.

The title of the exhibition, Here is Every, is taken from collaged text included in Bruce Nauman’s installation Cones Cojones (1973-75), a new acquisition on view for the first time at MoMA. Simple in its material form and execution, this work combines drawing, performance, and sculpture, inviting the visitor to enter a space created by concentric circles of masking tape. These enormous "cones" begin at the center of the earth and extend upward through the gallery and into infinite space. The texts that complete the work are hypnotic and disturbing, kinesthetic and psychological. Ms. Butler states: “Bruce Nauman is an artist who is critical to our understanding of contemporary art. He and his contemporaries such as Yvonne Rainer, Richard Tuttle, and Hélio Oiticica fundamentally changed how we understand form and its relationship to space and the body. This is a major acquisition which is as much a drawing in space as it is an historically important work of installation art.”

The first gallery highlights several of the themes that appear repeatedly throughout the exhibition, including politics, the urban/suburban landscape, and the public’s changing relationship with the media. On view is Martha Rosler’s iconic Cleaning the Drapes (1969-72), which juxtaposes American domestic life with the horrors of the Vietnam war; Shigeko Kubota’s sculpture Nude Descending a Staircase from Duchampiana (1976); and Tony Conrad’s Yellow Movie 2/16-26/73 (1973), a recent acquisition in which Conrad uses paint and paper to question the essence of film and the passage of time.

The next gallery includes works that address in various ways the relationship of the viewer to the object, and the perception of an art object. In addition to Nauman’s Cones Cojones, included in this gallery are Yvonne Rainer's groundbreaking dance work Trio A (1966) and Richard Tuttle’s Letters (The Twenty-Six Series) (1966). Alice Aycock’s large-scale, hand hewn sculpture Project Entitled “Studies for a Town” (1977), originally created for a 1977 Projects show at the Museum, is the artist’s reflection on urban spaces and architectural form. A gallery devoted to conceptual art in its many forms includes painting, sculpture, photography, and artist’s books. Works by Marcel Broodthaers, On Kawara, and Liliana Porter, are featured along with a new acquisition by Alejandro Puente titled Everything goes. Primary and secondary colors brought up to white (1968-70). Display cases include a selection of artists’ books, including work by Carolee Schneemann, Lucy Lippard, and Edward Ruscha. International examples of social documentary photography including works by David Goldblatt and Daido Moriyama are juxtaposed with drawings by Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vrisendorp, and Zoe Zenghelis for a 1972 project Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, an elaborate design for an architectural utopia envisioned within the city of London.

Vito Acconci’s Three Columns for America (1976), a recent acquisition, includes a soundtrack of Acconci’s musings on his American identity that is meant to be listened to while crouching on his purposefully uncomfortable furniture. Nearby are a series of Pan American World Airways advertisements from 1972 designed by Ivan Chermayeff and Thomas Geismar. These highly stylized images of such exotic locales such as France, Hawaii, and Bali key into cultural fantasies about idealized environments.

Videos by Eleanor Antin, VALIE EXPORT, Mako Idemitsu, and Arthur Ginsberg and Skip Sweeney with Video Free America are displayed in a video viewing area, providing examples of artists’ early innovations in this medium during the 1970s, and a growing awareness of the increasing influence of television in our lives. In Idemitsu’s Another Day of a Housewife (1977-78), a woman’s daily activities—cleaning, shopping, talking on the phone—are constantly watched by an anonymous eye that peers at her out of an ever-present television monitor.

Continuing through the exhibition, Alighiero e Boetti’s Tapestry of the Thousand Longest Rivers of the World (1976-82), an embroidered list of the thousand longest rivers in the world, is shown with Gerhard Richter’s painting Cityscape (1970). Other works include Victor Grippo’s sculpture Life, Death, Resurrection (1980), a selection of Thomas Struth’s city photographs, and Panamarenko’s sculpture Flying Object (Rocket) (1969). Painting and sculpture from the 1980s are presented together, and highlights include the recent acquisition Baby World (1984), a monumental drawing by Paul McCarthy, and a series of four paintings from 1987 by David Wojnarowicz—Fire, which has been in MoMA’s collection since 1992, joins new acquisitions Earth, Water, and Wind (for Peter Hujar). Identity politics and the body figure heavily in works on display from the late 1980s and early 1990s by artists such as Rineke Dijkstra, Felix Gonzalez- Torres, and David Hammons.

A number of major, recent acquisitions anchor the final section of the exhibition. Matthew Barney's monumental sculpture The Deportment of the Host (2006) extends the tradition of sculpture that combines narrative with a phenomenological and bodily encounter with form. Barney's exploded form functions as a poetic relic from the artist's films. A photograph from Barney’s film Drawing Restraint 9 (2005) of the artist and the singer Björk interacting within the space from which the sculpture was cast is also included. Nan Goldin, who along with Barney emerged internationally in the 1990s, is represented in this exhibition with her iconic The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1979-2004), installed at MoMA for the first time. This multimedia installation of 690 slides with a programmed soundtrack is a visual diary chronicling the struggle for intimacy and understanding between Goldin’s friends and lovers.

The exhibition closes with a gallery representing a current impulse on the part of a young generation of international artists toward collaboration and collectively inspired art making, groups, or projects. Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker produce individual works of art in addition to their work together. Inspired by artist groups from throughout the twentieth century, including the group IRWIN, who began making socially inscribed works in the 1980s, these artists are mining history to enliven the present dialogue and context for their own work.

Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art
Kurator: Connie Butler

Künstler: Matthew Barney, Mircea Cantor, Nan Goldin, Paul McCarthy, Annette Messager, Bruce Nauman, David Wojnarowicz ...