In 2019, Grace Wales Bonner curated her very first exhibition entitled A Time For New Dreams. Hosted at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, the exhibition focused on the exploration of magical realism within Black cultural practices. Four years on, the South London-born designer is the latest visionary to be enlisted by the Museum of Modern Art to curate an exhibition, as part of its Artist’s Choice series.
Entitled Spirit Movers, the show is the 16th instalment in the series and features approximately 50 different selected works. Opening on November 18, 2023, the exhibition will run through to spring next year, ending on April 7 2023. With a focus on the effect the African diaspora has had on different artist practices, experiences, forms and sounds, the selected pieces are courtesy of artists across multiple generations and countries.
Some of the featured artists include Terry Adkins, Moustapha Dimé, Agnes Martin, Man Ray, Betye Saar, and David Hammons. “It is an immense honour 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,” Wales Bonner wrote in her announcement post. “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.”
Speaking on the upcoming show, co-curator Michelle Kuo said: “Grace Wales Bonner has changed the way we see style—not only as surface but as structure. Every detail of her polymathic designs, publications, exhibitions, and films is related to long histories, deep archives, and cultural identities across the diasporic world. Like her exhibition, this book is a deeply personal meditation on and around modern Black expression—and it reflects Wales Bonner’s commitment to archival research as both a form of spirituality and an aesthetic practice.”
Alongside the exhibition, MoMa will be publishing a book entitled Grace Wales Bonner: Dream in the Rhythm—Visions of Sound and Spirit, which will see Wales Bonner draw upon pictures, poems, music, performances and scores from the museum archival collection. In the book near to 80 works are documented alongside texts by a range of Black authors such as Langston Hughes, June Jordan, Amiri Baraka and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
The exhibition opens November 18. In the meantime, check out backstage images from the latest Wales Bonner show in the gallery above.