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Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent

June 09, 2019 – September 02, 2019

MoMA PS1

I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent is the first museum survey exhibition devoted to the work of Julie Becker (American, 1972–2016), on view at MoMA PS1 from June 9 through September 2, 2019. Inspired by the psychological, cinematic, and physical geographies of her hometown of Los Angeles, Becker produced a rarely-seen body of installations, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and videos immersed in the human psyche’s formulation of truth, fiction, and myth.

First presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 2018, the exhibition features an expanded presentation of Becker’s work, including the artist’s formative installation Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (1993-1996), a large architectural complex created while she was a student at Cal Arts. This major piece is joined by more than 60 photographs, works on paper, video installations, and sculptures. The exhibition also features the largest group of works to be shown together from Whole (1999–), a multimedia project that was still ongoing at the time of the artist’s death. These works center on a run-down home in the Echo Park neighborhood of East Los Angeles that the California Federal Bank let the artist rent cheaply on the condition that she remove the belongings of the former tenant, who had passed away from AIDS-related complications.

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Julie Becker. Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (detail). 1993-1996. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, ICA, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Blower

Julie Becker. Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (detail). 1993-1996. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, ICA, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Blower

Julie Becker. Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (detail). 1993-1996. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, ICA, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Blower

Julie Becker. Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (detail). 1993-1996. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, ICA, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Blower

Julie Becker. Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest (detail). 1993-1996. Mixed-media installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York, ICA, London, and MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Blower

Julie Becker. watering. 2015. Mixed media. 10 3/4 x 8 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches (27.3 x 21.3 x 3.8 cm) each. Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York

Julie Becker. Postersize Copy Machine. 1996. Mixed media. 36 x 48 x 51 1/2 inches (91.4 x 121.9 x 130.8 cm). Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York

Julie Becker. Whole (Projector), 1999. C-print on aluminum. 50 3/4 x 33 3/4 inches (128.9 x 85.7 cm). Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York

Julie Becker. Whole (Screen). 1999. C-print on aluminum. 50 3/4 x 33 3/4 inches (128.9 x 85.7 cm). Courtesy Greene Naftali, New York

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus

Installation view of Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent, on view at MoMA PS1, New York from June 9–September 2, 2019. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Matthew Septimus