New
Museum
Upcoming

Pursuing the Unpredictable: The New Museum 1977–2017

09/27/17-01/07/18

On the occasion of the New Museum’s 40th Anniversary, “Pursuing the Unpredictable: The New Museum 1977–2017” reflects on the institution’s pursuit of groundbreaking art and ideas, and its legacy of questioning the structures and functions of museums.

Fifth Floor Visit Us

Founded in 1977 as a radical gesture by art historian and curator Marcia Tucker, the New Museum began as an alternative model of museum practice. At its inception, it was the only museum in Manhattan entirely dedicated to the exhibition, interpretation, and documentation of contemporary art. The institution championed under-recognized figures and those on the brink of exposure, and responded to new forms of art by proposing innovative ways of engaging with artists and making their work accessible to the public. This anniversary exhibition borrows its title from an essay Tucker wrote on the conceptual artist John Baldessari, whose 1981 exhibition was one of the New Museum’s earliest solo shows by an artist whose work had not yet been sufficiently examined—one of several foundational exhibition formats that continues today. Other exhibition formats, old and new, have taken their cue from artists’ changing modes of creating and presenting work, often intentionally pushing at the limits of what a traditional museum can support.

The early period of the New Museum’s history was defined by important debates in culture and aesthetics. A burgeoning postmodern discourse provided context for the institution’s ardent engagement with feminist, anti-racist, and postcolonial politics, as well as a more generally anti-authoritarian—and deeply self-reflexive—approach to curatorial work. The New Museum upended conventions related to the museum’s educative role, its relationship to artists and audiences, and its emphasis on permanence rather than process or change. These kinds of existential inquiries have persisted throughout the last four decades, as the institution has grown and transformed in response to a changing cultural and geopolitical landscape.

This anniversary exhibition will present a selection of past exhibitions, programs, and initiatives through key archival documents and select artworks. These highlight occasions that have been pivotal in shaping the New Museum and contributing to broader discussions about contemporary art and museum practice. Additionally, a timeline designed by Project Projects, featuring select highlights from the Museum’s history, will be presented within the exhibition, alongside a display of the entire collection of New Museum publications. The adjacent Resource Center will function as a pressroom, presenting critical and popular responses to the New Museum throughout its forty years. These materials bear testament to the themes and discussions that the New Museum has consistently pursued, from issues of gender and sexuality to the relationship between art and technology, as well as the mandates that have characterized its institutional practice: responsiveness to cultural crises, championing new forms of art making, and the belief in art as a social force.

“Pursuing the Unpredictable: The New Museum 1977–2017” is curated by Alicia Ritson, Marcia Tucker Senior Research Fellow.

Continue Reading

Sponsors

Major support for this project is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Tickets and Member Information

Buy tickets in advance or purchase them at the Museum

Tickets are available for purchase online or at the Museum. If you'd like to get tickets at the Museum, view our visiting information and directions.

Get tickets
Get access to all exhibitions with a New Museum Membership

Membership at the New Museum is about seeing it first—whether that means moving to the front of the line or being among the first to preview what’s new in contemporary art.

Become a member

Current Exhibitions

See all Current Exhibitions R

Stay in touch

All Content is ©2012–2016 New Museum Of Contemporary Art. All Rights Reserved.

Site by: kettlecome say hi!

Back to mobile site