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Video and large-scale wall drawing addressing women and modernism by Andrea Geyer on view at MoMA
Andrea Geyer. Insistence. 2013. Video (color, sound). 15:21 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Modern Women’s Fund. © 2015 Andrea Geyer, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne.

NEW YORK, NY.- A two-part presentation of works by Andrea Geyer (German and American, b. 1971) is on view at The Museum of Modern Art this fall in The Agnes Gund Garden Lobby. The video projection Insistence (2013) (on view October 16–November 15, 2015) and the large-scale wall drawing Revolt, They Said (2012-ongoing) (on view October 16– November 29, 2015) challenge the lack of recognition of women’s work in the construction of the modernist movement during the 1920s and 1930s in New York City and beyond. These two works are the culmination of Geyer’s research on the three women who founded MoMA in 1929—Lillie P. Bliss, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and Mary Quinn Sullivan—conducted with the support of The Museum of Modern Art Archives. The display is organized by Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, and Erica Papernik-Shimizu, Assistant Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA.

Revolt, They Said is a wall-sized diagram based on an ongoing drawing in which Geyer delineates a network of 850 women without whom the American cultural landscape would not be as we know it today. The work originated during Geyer’s 2012–13 research fellowship at MoMA, which was made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation. Geyer started out by mapping the relationships among Bliss, Rockefeller, Sullivan, and other women—collectors, cultural visionaries, and social entrepreneurs— but the project soon grew into an expansive web of professional and personal entanglements, commitments, and alliances. Taking the viewer through a narrative of actions and relations among these women, Geyer’s hand-drawn lines render art and its agents in close proximity to the social or political contexts out of which they grew, and the fields with which they were in dialogue. In this way the drawing not only retroactively re-envisions those relationships but maps out a blueprint for how social and cultural change has and can be realized.

Geyer’s 2013 video Insistence expands this research, weaving together stories about a group of these influential women in a voiceover that is paired with the continuous accumulation of postcards featuring their portraits and those of their collaborators, lovers, business partners, and supporters. The video confronts fundamental shortcomings and omissions of historical representation—in particular, the inherent problem of portraiture identified by Gertrude Stein: How do you capture the representation of a person in time without restricting her ongoing potential for acting or living? Instead of offering a revisionist history, Insistence suggests that the tireless work, spirit, and convictions that drove these women to create a far-reaching network across art, politics, education, and social reform is not simply an event of the past but a legacy that is alive and present today.

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