This text considers the work of Vera Pagava, a Georgian artist who lived in exile in Paris, as an amalgamation of modernist and Georgian art historic references. Following Pagava’s life story from Tbilisi, where she was born, to Germany and later Paris, where she settled with her family in 1923 and lived until her death in 1988, this essay introduces her work in relation to that of various other Georgian artists, simultaneously tracing her path from figuration to abstraction.
Historian Sumit Mandal initiates a comparison of the architecture, surrounding landscapes, and histories of two keramat, or Muslim gravesite-shrines—Habib Noh in Singapore and Tuan Guru in Cape Town.
Grace Salome Kwami (1923-2006), undoubtedly a forerunner of modern art in Ghana, was one of the first women to undertake academic training in fine art. Elsbeth Court takes a closer look at her artistic formation, key work and restitution.
Art historian Y. L. Lucy Wang analyzes the architecture and photographic record of the 1955 Bandung Conference, revealing the ways in which the event visually projected its aims of South-South solidarity by bringing new meanings to architectural forms previously charged with colonial and historical associations.
In this essay, Giulia Paoletti deftly explores the photographic portraits of Senegalese photographer, Mama Casset, where female sitters are not mere objects of a male gaze, but rather present themselves as viewing subjects who dare to look.
By way of Men Taking Banana Beer to Bride by Night (1956), a painting featured in our “One Work, Many Voices” series, which focuses on individual artworks chosen from MoMA’s collection, art historian Gabriella Nugent highlights the role of memory in Ntiro’s practice. She argues that these memories are a product of distance and thus complicate the frameworks of art history.
Art historian Inesa Brašiškė highlights the ideas behind the work of Lithuanian-American artist and architect Aleksandra Kasuba (1923–2019), most notably her countering of the rigid geometry of architecture through the use of soft materials and curved shapes, and her emphasis on the fundamental connection between the built environment and the formation of subject.
Collectivity, economics, gender, and spirituality converge in this meticulous reading of Philippine modern artist Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s painting, In the Marketplace. Skirting the ease of performative, atomized, or biographical takes on the subjects at hand, the writer primes instead a broader proposal for latency.
Published to coincide with Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964 at MoMA, art historian Adele Nelson analyzes the Sala de Fotografia, a last-minute, “in-between” and hitherto unexamined exhibition organized by Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante for the second edition of the São Paulo Bienal.
Refusing to fit into the mainstream art of her time, Gazbia Sirry replaced formal modernist training with local Egyptian art conventions to critically address women’s rights, patriarchy, social justice, and Western imperialism.
Curator Heloisa Espada sheds light on Geraldo de Barros’ 1951 Fotoforma exhibition, one of the earliest exhibitions of photography in a Brazilian museum.
The Modernist Gaze and the City: Notes on Photography and Urban Repertoires in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s and ’50s
This essay is the first in a series of texts on the Foto Cine Club Bandeirante, a group of amateur photographers whose ambitious and innovative works embodied the abundant originality of postwar Brazilian culture. The series coincides with the exhibition Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964, on view at the Museum of Modern Art from May 8 to September 26, 2021.