The works selected for Contemporary Art from the Collection at MOMA highlighted the debates around economics, politics, gender, and ethnicity that have permeated artistic practices since the late 1960s. Including approximately 130 works drawn from all of the Museum's curatorial departments.
The installation featured a variety of approaches to art-making and follows a chronological path. The exhibition began with works such as a haunting “body print” by David Hammons (1969), which depicts the artist in an act of prayer, and Robert Rauschenberg’s Currents (1970), a sixty-foot-long screenprint based on newspaper clippings. Two Concluding projects explored themes of humanity and loss through current events: Huma Bhabha’s expansive print series Reconstructions (2007), in which the artist memorializes lost civilizations in her native Pakistan, and Paul Chan's Waiting for Godot (2007), a project based on the artist's restaging of Samuel Beckett's play in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
A work by George Maciunas called “One Year” from 1973-4 was made of various empty containers and packaging from food and household items that the artist used in the span of one year. Adrian Piper’s “The Mythic Being Village Voice Series” 1973-5 comprised an image of the artist as her male alter ego appears in 17 Village Voice ads. Each image includes a thought bubble filled with text from her teenage journal entries. “During the month in which an ad appeared, Piper would repeat the text over and over to reexperience it, examine and analyze it.”
Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles. “Thread” is made up of 48 bales of hay, one 18-carat gold needle, and 58 meters of gold thread. Made of agricultural materials, it is minimalist in form. The gold thread encircles the hay cube. The difference in materials explores differences in economic relationships. It is a very cool piece intellectually and aesthetically. Paul Chan’s “Waiting for Godot” was staged in New Orleans in 2007. In this work Chan “suggests that there is antidote to the alienation of contemporary life: ‘All the texting and friending may expand the number of people in one’s life but the links do not enrich the quality of the arrangements. It takes an evolving awareness of the differences that naturally develop between two individuals, a commitment to allow those differences to take root so that common connections grow into singular bonds. The open secret to this process is time
But of course if that is not to your taste check out this updated version set to Katy Perry's Fireworks.