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Sonja Sekula at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Sonja Sekula The Town of the Poor, 1951, oil on canvas, 66 × 90" (167.6 × 228.6 cm)
In the collection of Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Arranged in a loosely chronological order, each of the 23 galleries on this floor explores an individual topic. A gallery may be devoted to an artist, a specific medium or discipline, a particular place in a moment in time or a shared creative idea. These presentations are conceived by teams of curators from all fields and at all levels of seniority collaborating closely to share expertise and viewpoints. An ongoing program of frequent reinstallation will feature a wide range of artworks in new combinations—a reminder that countless ideas and histories can be explored through the Museum’s rich collection.

The ghostly scaffolding, swooping calligraphic lines, and blue and yellow washes of this painting most likely depict the view from Sekula’s downtown New York studio, which she shared with composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham. “Looking outside my window,” wrote this Swiss painter and poet, an immigrant to the United States, “I think of all the contemporary American poets and artists who represent their outlook on this strange country and I find myself beginning to realize that I shall be one of them. I shall begin to speak of … a future that we begin to feel underneath the current of war and strife and uncertainty.”

Gallery label for The Town of the Poor, 1951 by Sonja Sekula in  “Collection 1940s—1970s”, 2019

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