Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection at The Museum of Modern Art
Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection brings together works by more than a dozen artists, made in the past decade and recently acquired by The Museum of Modern Art. The artists that make up this intergenerational selection address current anxiety and unrest around the world and offer critical reflections on our present moment.
The exhibition considers the intertwining themes of social protest, the effect of history on the formation of identity, and how art juxtaposes fact and fiction. From Cairo to St. Petersburg, from The Hague to Recife, the artists in the exhibition observe and interpret acts of state violence and the resistance and activism they provoke. They reexamine historical moments, evoking images of the past and claiming their places within it. They take on contemporary struggles for power, intervening into debates about government surveillance and labor exploitation. Together, these artists look back to traditions both within and beyond the visual arts to imagine possibilities for an uncertain future.
The title of this exhibition is inspired by John Akomfrah’s three-channel video installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), which is included here and chronicles the life and work of the Jamaican-born British cultural theorist Stuart Hall (1932–2014). Hall recognized the power that museum collections have to both shape and reflect culture and communities, contending that they are sources of inspiration ‘which create thoughtprovoking visions of our past. They provide testimony to the darkest and brightest of human history.’