One Work, Many Voices

MoMA’s curators, selected staff, and specialist invitees each pick individual works in MoMA’s collection and discuss the particularities of the chosen piece and its relationship to other works housed within the Museum. Several of the works included here entered MoMA’s holdings as a result of Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP), a research initiative begun at the Museum in 2009, which has focused on tracing artistic legacies in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America. However, MoMA’s inclusion of works from these regions predates this endeavor, which is something also evinced here. C-MAP’s efforts both to promote a deeper understanding of works already in MoMA’s collection and to instigate a broader perspective on how other geographical histories might relate to MoMA’s context, reflect a history of modern and contemporary art premised on international travel, networks, and connections. 

Encompassing historical as well as contemporary objects in a diversity of mediums, this Theme in effect serves to mimic the structure of a museum’s collection: Artworks created in disparate locales and in different moments in time find themselves in chance adjacency and juxtaposition, prompting reflection on similarities and differences, and deeper investigations of the contexts within which each work of art was produced. This body of objects does not tell one particular story; instead it enables multiple stories to be told, including the inclusion of formerly underrepresented voices, and offers a site for contemplating the difficulties and possibilities of writing a globally-comprehensive history of art.

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.