Currently On View

Ernest Cole's House of Bondage

This Collection Gallery presents a group of recently acquired prints from Ernest Cole's House of Bondage, together with books, magazines, screenprints, and photographs by artists who took on the subject of apartheid in South Africa following Cole. They offer unflinching critiques of racism in works that document the atmospheric trauma exuded in seemingly commonplace scenes.

Organized by Lucy Gallun and Oluremi C. Onabanjo, with Kaitlin Booher.

May 2023–2024

Museum of Modern Art, 4th Floor, Gallery 409

Image: Ernest Cole, Untitled, ca. 1960. © Ernest Cole

Visual Vernaculars

This Collection Gallery draws from MoMA’s expansive collection of everyday photographs, often termed “vernacular” because of their relationship to forms of expression beyond formal fine art contexts. Personal and familial pictures demonstrate the role photography can play in the construction of a self-image, giving form to interrelated social identities, relationships, and communities. Quotidian images have also influenced artistic practice, as evidenced by some of the works in this room.

Organized by Oluremi C. Onabanjo and Robin Coste Lewis, with Antoinette Roberts.

August 2023–2024

Museum of Modern Art, 5th Floor, Gallery 521

Image: Unidentified photographer, Untitled, ca. 1900.

Past Exhibitions

New Photography 2023: Kelani Abass, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Yagazie Emezi, Amanda Iheme, Abraham Oghobase, Karl Ohiri, Logo Oluwamuyiwa

New Photography 2023 unites the work of seven artists who plumb the depths of the photographic medium, and mine its spatial, social, and historical undercurrents in order to make space for more nuanced forms of perception and encounter. 

Organized by Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, with the assistance of Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.

Museum of Modern Art, New York 

28 May–16 September, 2023

Press Site 

Selected Press

Image: Oil Wonders II, from “Monochrome Lagos,” 2018. © Logo Oluwamuyiwa. 

Projects: Ming Smith

A photographer who has lived and worked in New York since the 1970s, Ming Smith has served as a precedent for a generation of artists engaging the politics and poetics of the photographic image. Through a deep exploration of the artist’s archive, Projects: Ming Smith offers a critical reintroduction to Smith’s work through her distinctive approach to movement, light, rhythm, and shadow, highlighting how she transforms the image from a document of photographic capture into a space of emotive expression.

Organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Museum of Modern Art, New York

4 February–29 May, 2023

Press site

Selected Press

Image: Ming Smith. Womb, 1992. © Ming Smith.

Currency: Photography Beyond Capture

Currency: Photography Beyond Capture explores conceptual engagements with photography in the “retinal age,” where images not only act as records and imprints but fundamentally shape acts of seeing and being seen. Moving beyond the moment of photographic capture, the exhibition approaches photographs as contextual frames for narrative invention in order to consider how knowledge can be sought and reimagined.

Organized by Koyo Kouoh, Rasha Salti, Gabe Beckhurst, and Oluremi C. Onabanjo as part of the 8th Triennial of Photography.

Deichtorhallen, Hamburg

20 May–18 September, 2022 

Image: Ce qui monte, 2021 © Mame-Diarra Niang. 

A Collective Utterance

A solo exhibition of photographic work by artist Naima Green. Culled from her ongoing portrait series “Jewels from The Hinterland” (2013–present), the exhibition renders verdant alcoves and expansive greens throughout New York City, as well as select sites across the United States. With black and brown artists, writers, culture workers, and thinkers positioned centrally in each image, A Collective Utterance offers an exploration into the tender interiors of communities that populate and often buttress the creative life of a city, through the mapping of its’ outdoor spaces.

The Arsenal Gallery, Central Park

June 20–August 30, 2018

Image: Jason, Central Park, from “Jewels from the Hinterland,” 2015. © Naima Green.

Mistaken Identities

An exhibition that considers how photographic representations reinforce or subvert prevailing roles of gender and sexuality. In particular, the exhibition looks at instances where social roles may be deliberately exaggerated or transgressed, including photographs that involve cross-dressing, nudity, mimicry, and other acts of queering social norms. 

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

April 6–July 28, 2018

Image: Untitled, from “La Tierra Prohíbida de Terry Holiday,” 1979. © Adolfo Patiño. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York. 

The Shadow Archive

Covering a wide range of historical and contemporary objects, from nineteenth-century daguerreotypes of families to recent images of migrant farm workers, the exhibition demonstrates how identification photographs have been used to sort, shape, segregate, and select subjects based on occupation, social group, body type, or political affiliation. 

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

December 8, 2017–March 31, 2018

Image: Detail from Black Photo Album | Look at Me: 1890–1950, 1997© Santu Mofokeng. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York. 

Deconstructed Spaces, Surveyed Memories

An exhibition that assembled works by eight photographers born after the liberation movements that swept Africa in the 1960s, Edson Chagas, Em’kal Eyongakpa, François-Xavier Gbré, Simon Gush, Sabelo Mlangeni, Mame-Diarra Niang, Dawit L. Petros, and Michael Tsegaye. These artists examine urban architectures, sites of labor, and products of mass consumption, by employing principles of abstraction, analyzing particular landscapes and built environments, or probing a more spiritual invocation of the photographic inquiry 

Musée du District, Bamako

December 2, 2017–January 31, 2018

Image: "Found, Not Taken," 2008. © Edson Chagas. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York.

East of Que Village

A site-specific installation of the emotionally powerful multi-screen video work by theChinese artist Yang Fudong. Shot in a documentary style in the farming village where Yang spent his early childhood, the work provides an unsparing look at the grim everyday reality of life in rural China.

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

October 6–November 25, 2017

Image: Still from "East of Que Village," 2007. © Yang Fudong. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York.

Recent Histories

An exhibition that examined a selection of African image-makers and lens-based artists highlighting specific creative approaches and studying the sites and collective platforms that enable these practices. In accentuating different perspectives within this generation and considering the infrastructures that often link them, RecentHistories provided a point of entry to engage critically with current practices,and opens up considerations about how to conceptualize the frameworks of contemporary African photography and video art.

The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm

May 7–November 19, 2017 

Image: Untitled (Prologue II), from "The Stranger's Notebook," 2016. © Dawit L. Petros. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York.

Body, Self, Society

Highlighting some of the most significant examples of Chinese performance photography from 1995 to 1999, the exhibition featured works by Ai Weiwei, Cang Xin, Huang Yan, Ma Liuming, Song Dong, Zhang Huan,and Zhuang Hui.

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

April 14–August 19, 2017

Image: To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain, 1995. © Cang Xin. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York.  

Structures of Identity

An exhibition that examined the ways that photographers, across a range of cultures and historical periods, have used portraiture to affirm or challenge social stereotypes constructed around notions of race, gender, class, and nationality. 

The selection of photographs from The Walther Collection, shown for the first time in New York, established a dialogue between significant historical and vernacular images, and among key contemporary works fromAfrica, Asia, Europe, and North America. 

The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD, New York

March 29–April 2, 2017.

Image:  Untitled [Hairstyles], 1970–79. © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York. 

Acts of Intimacy

An exhibition that brought together three key photographic series by the Japanese artists Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama,and Kohei Yoshiyuki—each of whom has given special attention to the role of eroticism and sexual subcultures in Japanese society. 

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

January 19–April 2, 2017

Image: Untitled, from “101 Works for Robert Frank (Private Diary),” 1993. © Nobuyoshi Araki. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York. 

Recent Histories

An exhibition that featured the work of Simon Gush, Délio Jasse, Lebohang Kganye, Dawit L.Petros, and Zina Saro-Wiwa. Common to their disparate practices was the use and embellishment of documentary modes to portray the vicissitudes of modern life, each engaging an array of sociopolitical concerns—including migration, lineage, labor, and the legacies of colonialism and Calvinism.

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

September 22–December 17, 2016

Image: Untitled, from “Terreno Occupado,” 2014. © Délio Jasse. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York.

The Lay of the Land

An exhibition featuring the work of Edson Chagas, François-Xavier Gbré, and Mame-Diarra Niang—whose images of physical structures—in progress, in ruins, or incomplete—are encoded with the values, dreams, contradictions, and politics of urban life. Rather than providing purely documentary statements, Chagas, Gbré, and Niang pose open-ended questions about the changing visual narratives of the built environment. 

The Walther Collection Project Space, New York

September 10, 2015–January 16, 2016

Image: Satellite I, from "Metropolis," 2015. © Mame-Diarra Niang. Courtesy The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm & New York. 

Using Format