Exhibitions

The latest press releases and information on current and upcoming exhibitions at MoMA can be found here. You’ll also find exhibition-related videos and posts on Inside/Out, the MoMA/MoMA PS1 blog.

Click here for a list of our touring or off-site exhibitions. 

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Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams

May 26, 2018–January 01, 2019

Posted on October 2, 2017

Floor Three, The Philip Johnson Galleries

Press Preview: Tuesday, May 22, 9:30-11:30 a.m., with remarks to follow.

Remarks will be livestreamed.

“Without a model, you are nowhere. A nation that can’t make models is a nation that doesn’t understand things, a nation that doesn’t live,” said visionary artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015). Based in then-Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), following its independence from Belgium, Kingelez made sculptures of imagined buildings and cities that reflected dreams for his country, his continent, and the world. Kingelez’s “extreme maquettes” offer fantastic, utopian models for a more harmonious society of the future. An optimistic alternative to his own experience of urban life in his home city of Kinshasa, which grew exponentially and organically with urban planning and infrastructure often unable to keep step, his work explores urgent questions around how communities and societies function, urban growth, economic inequity, and the rehabilitative power of architecture—issues that resonate profoundly today.

Kingelez’s vibrant, ambitious sculptures are created from an incredible range of everyday materials and found objects—colored paper, commercial packaging, plastic, soda cans, and bottle caps—all meticulously repurposed and arranged. While he didn’t travel outside of Zaire until 1989, he was highly attuned to world events and deeply concerned with social issues. Works such as The Scientific Center of Hospitalisation the SIDA (1991), reference the AIDS crisis in Africa; Palais d’Hirochima (1991), US relations with postwar Japan; and U.N. (1995) attests to the organization’s efforts in the Congo, directly addressed the realities of his time and his global perspective. In the complex multi-building cityscape Kimbembele Ihunga (1994), the artist reimagines his agricultural home village complete with a soccer stadium, banks, restaurants, and skyscrapers. In Ville Fantôme (1996), which will be accompanied by a Virtual Reality experience for visitors, the artist has imagined a peaceful city in which doctors and police are not needed.

The first US retrospective of Kingelez’s work, the exhibition spans his full career, from early single-building sculptures, to spectacular sprawling cities, to futuristic late works, which incorporate increasingly unorthodox materials. These rarely shown works are a call for us all to imagine, in the artist’s words, a “better, more peaceful world.”

Organized by Sarah Suzuki, Curator, with Hillary Reder, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition design produced in collaboration with the artist Carsten Höller (German, born 1961).

Allianz is a partner of contemporary art at MoMA.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Generous funding is provided by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund.

Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams


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Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams

May 26, 2018–January 01, 2019

Posted on October 2, 2017

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Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams