On July 17th, it was announced that British-Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner will curate the Museum of Modern Art’s 16th annual Artist Choice exhibition since 1989. The selected works, chosen by Wales Bonner, will be displayed across the museum’s street level galleries in New York and will embody a theme she calls “Spirit Movers.” According to the designer these pieces aim to “evoke multiple histories, inspire contemplation, and highlight connections between people and places.”
The exhibition will feature 50 works centering on the theme of Blackness throughout the diaspora and time, showcasing pieces by beloved Black artists such as David Hammons, Terry Adkins, Man Ray, Agnes Martin, Betye Saar and more. Accompanying the selected works will be written pieces by renowned Black authors including Langston Hughes, Greg Tate, Nikki Giovanni, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This celebration of Blackness in all its form demonstrates Wales Bonner’s intentionality in curating the exhibition.
Alongside the exhibition, MoMA will publish a book by Bonner entitled Grace Wales Bonner: Dream in the Rhythm—Visions of Sound and Spirit. Wales Bonner describes it as “an archive of soulful expression.” The book is to be a fully immersive experience that touches each sense through poetry, music, bodies in motion and more. Wales Bonner, an artist in her own right, will showcase how her research for design translates into physical manifestation through this curation.
Bonner’s excitement for the show is evident, as she expresses on her Instagram announcement, “It is an immense honor to engage with the artists and works in the MoMA collection and I wish to extend my deepest thanks to the museum for allowing me the space to create so freely. I hope that the exhibition and associated publication resound with the spirit of the contributing artists and continue to conjure new dreams and new visions.”
Artist’s Choice: Grace Wales Bonner—Spirit Movers will be on view at MoMA New York on November 18, 2023 to April 7, 2023.