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The Power of Image Making


Kerry James Marshall, Mementos, 1998. Chromogenic development print; framed: 31 × 27 in. (78.7 × 68.6 cm), sheet: 20 × 24 in. (50.8 × 60.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the Susan and Lewis Manilow Collection of Chicago Artists, 2003.32. © 1998 Kerry James Marshall

Photo: Michal Raz-Russo, © MCA Chicago


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In response to the most recent tragedies in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas (hard on the heels of the mass shooting in Orlando in June), communities across the United States are looking for ways to make sense of and combat the seemingly constant barrage of violence seen through the world. One article that has circulated over the past few days between our museum colleagues, family, and friends is “How Do Black Lives Matter in MoMA's Collection," a post on the Museum of Modern Art's Inside/Out blog that looks at the connection of three recently acquired artworks to current events. The author, Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA, examines the power of images, whether they are used to raise awareness, provide a space for meditation and healing, incite change, or are deliberately omitted. We encourage you to read Lax's thoughtful words and insights.

But what do we do that goes beyond Brown’s public grief? What happens after Marshall’s policeman’s self-reflection? What is greater than the effects of this Museum’s acquisitions?

—Thomas J. Lax

"How Do Black Lives Matter in MoMA’s Collection"