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Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour

May 19, 2024 – September 28, 2024

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art will present Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour, an exhibition that will focus on the recently acquired 10-channel video installation of the same name, about the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. On view from May 19 through September 28, 2024, in the Museum’s Second- Floor South Galleries, Isaac Julien’s nearly 30-minute video will be featured for the first time alongside a select group of historical objects, including pamphlets of Douglass’s speeches featured in Lessons of the Hour, first editions of his memoirs, a facsimile of a rare manuscript laying out his ideas about photography, and photographic portraits of Douglass and his wife Anna Murray Douglass.

Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour is organized by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, The Steven and Lisa Tananbaum Curator, with Erica DiBenedetto, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

Leadership support for the exhibition is provided by the Xin Zhang and Shiyi Pan Endowment Fund.

Major funding is provided by the Wallis Annenberg Director’s Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi Haas, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and The Young Patrons Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by The Sundheim Family Foundation.

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Isaac Julien (British, born 1960). Lessons of the Hour. 2019. Ten-channel 4K video and 35mm film transferred to high-definition video (color, sound; 28:46 min.) and ten projection screens, dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of the Ford Foundation. © 2024 Isaac Julien. Installation view, Metro Pictures, New York, 2019

Address by Hon. Frederick Douglass, delivered in the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, January 9th, on The lessons of the hour: in which he discusses the various aspects of the so-called, but mis-called, negro problem. Baltimore: Press of Thomas & Evans, 1894. Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection

Powelson (fl. 1880). Portrait of Anna Douglass. c. 1880. Albumen print (carte de visite), 3 15/16 × 2 7/16″ (10 × 6.2 cm). The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, GLC07752.03

Frederick Douglass (American, 1817 or 1818–1895), Samuel Montague Fasset (American, 1825–1910). Portrait of Frederick Douglass Taken During The Civil War. 1864. Albumen silver print (carte de visite), 3 1/2 × 2″ (8.9 × 5.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Arthur M. Bullowa Fund