PRINT January 2020


View of “Hardware/Software,” 2019–, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Foreground, from left: Joan Semmel, Night Light, 1978; Maren Hassinger, Leaning, 1980; Senga Nengudi, R.S.V.P. I, 1977/2003. Background: Cady Noland, Tanya as Bandit, 1989. Photo: John Wronn.

THE VIBE started to trickle out via Instagram. For a few days, my feed was inundated with pictures of all the cool new shit on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. You could smell victory in the air: The artists were happy. Then the New York Times weighed in and touched the wide shoulders of the new, bigger-is-better MoMA with their magic wand. Could it be? Had MoMA, the perennial whipping boy of art historians, radical artists, and cranky art critics, gotten it right? And by right, at this moment, we mean that the collection has been installed with an eye toward inclusivity—of medium, of gender, of nationality, of ethnicity—and that modernism is no longer portrayed as a single, triumphant narrative, but rather as a network of contemporaneous and uneven developments. Right means that the curatorial efforts to dig deep into MoMA’s astounding holdings looked past the iconic

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