Artist’s Choice: Jérôme Bel/MoMA Dance Company

On the occasion of French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)’s Crossing the Line Festival 2016, The Museum of Modern Art presents Artist’s Choice: Jérôme Bel/MoMA Dance Company. An exhibition series inaugurated in 1989 at MoMA, Artist’s Choice periodically invites contemporary artists to organize installations drawn from the Museum’s collection. When invited to be the first choreographer to participate in an Artist’s Choice, Jérôme Bel shifted his focus from the artworks in the collection to MoMA’s staff, and to the care and labor necessary to maintain the collection and make it visible. Bel also became interested in the relation of the Museum’s employees to specific artworks, to the institution, and to dance. Eventually, Bel decided to turn his Artist’s Choice exhibition into a performance: MoMA Dance Company.

Through an open call, MoMA Dance Company brings together 20 to 25 MoMA staff members from different departments who will perform during public hours in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Taking inspiration from his recent piece Company, Company, which features both amateur and professional dancers of different ages and backgrounds, Bel has invited each participating MoMA staff member to choreograph a brief solo dance of their choice. Based on the guiding principles of solo and group performances, MoMA Dance Company subverts the idea of a dance company and notions of virtuosity—and the typical focus of Artist’s Choice installations on objects—to challenge the imaginations and expectations of audiences and the institution itself. Artist’s Choice: Jérôme Bel/MoMA Dance Company is organized by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, with Martha Joseph, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art, and produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Performance Producer.

Presented on the occasion of FIAF’s Crossing the Line 2016, in conjunction with related programming at The Joyce and The Kitchen.

The Artist’s Choice exhibition series is made possible through The Agnes Gund Artist’s Choice Fund endowed by Iara Lee and George Gund III, Lulie and Gordon Gund, Ann and Graham Gund, and Sarah and Geoffrey Gund.

Additional support is provided by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.