In 2012, the Museum of Modern Art invited New York–based artist Andrea Geyer to perform an Artist Research Residency in the museum’s archives. The residency was supported by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation. Two pieces from the resulting body of works are currently on view at the museum: The video Insistence, 2013, which is on view through November 15, 2015, and the mural Revolt, They Said, 2012–, which runs through November 29, 2015.
A CURIOUS BLIND SPOT exists in MoMA’s archives when it comes to women and modernism. I was intrigued by the fact that the alliance between the three women— Lillie P. Bliss, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Mary Quinn Sullivan—who founded the museum in 1929 left no trace in the archives: no photographs, no correspondence. David Rockefeller, who was a teenager at the time, recounted to me that these women were close friends who met regularly at the Rockefeller home for tea and went to exhibitions together. An archivist at the Rockefeller Archive Center informed me that relationships between women were not considered worth archiving until much later. Yet still today awareness around these women’s achievements remains sparse. I wondered: What are the systems and mechanisms that enable our continuous blindness and deafness around these histories? What does it take to disrupt this process? How to uncover our own patterns of nonrecognition?
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