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Signals: How Video Transformed the World

March 05, 2023 – July 08, 2023

The Museum of Modern Art

Offering a timely examination of video, art, and the public sphere, The Museum of Modern Art will present Signals: How Video Transformed the World, a major exhibition that will be on view in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions from March 5 through July 8, 2023. Through a diverse range of nearly 100 works, drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection, Signals examines the ways in which artists have both championed and questioned video as an agent of social change—from televised revolution to electronic democracy. The presentation positions video not as a traditional medium but as a transformational media network, one that has fundamentally altered the world.

Signals will investigate the ways in which artists such as John Akomfrah and Black Audio Film Collective, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Tony Cokes, Chto Delat, Song Dong, Harun Farocki, Amar Kanwar, Dana Kavelina, Marta Minujín, Carlos Motta, New Red Order, Nam June Paik, Tiffany Sia, Martine Syms, Ming Wong, Nil Yalter, and many others have used video over the past five decades to pose urgent questions about the singular impact that electronic media have had on participatory democracy, identity politics, economic access, and technological power. Collectively, the works and artists in the exhibition confront the ways in which the physical world has merged with the virtual, and reveal a history that is global, critical, and activist from its very beginnings.

Signals is organized by Stuart Comer, The Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance, and Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture.

The exhibition is made possible by Hyundai Card.

Leadership support is provided by the Jill and Peter Kraus Endowed Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.

Major funding is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art and 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, Anne Dias, 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, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, The Sundheim Family Foundation, and Karen and Gary Winnick.

Major support for the publication is provided by The Museum of Modern Art’s Research and Scholarly Publications endowment established through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Press Kit

Images

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Nam June Paik. Good Morning Mr. Orwell. 1984. Video (color, sound). 38 minutes. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. © 2022 Estate of Nam June Paik. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Ming Wong. Windows on the World (Part 2). 2014. Twenty-four-channel standard-definition video (color, sound; varying durations), twenty-four flat screen monitors, MDF, wood, and steel, overall dimensions approx. 65 x 157 1/2 x 30” (165 × 400 × 75 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2022 Ming Wong

Dara Birnbaum. Tiananmen Square: Break-In Transmission. 1990. Five-channel color video, four-channels of stereo sound, surveillance switcher, and custom-designed support system, dimensions variable. Installation view: Dara Birnbaum, Marian Goodman Gallery, London, November 8, 2018–January 12, 2019. © 2022 Dara Birnbaum. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Martine Syms. Lessons I–CLXXX. 2014–18. 180 videos (color, sound). 90 minutes (30 seconds each). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2022 Martine Syms

Black Audio Film Collective, John Akomfrah. Handsworth Songs. 1986. Single-channel 16mm color film transferred to video, sound. 58:33 min. © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery

Tiffany Sia. Never Rest / Unrest. 2020. High-definition video (color, sound). 29 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2022 Tiffany Sia

Tony Cokes. Black Celebration. 1988. Standard-definition video (black and white, sound). 17:11 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Friends of Education and Committee on Media and Performance Funds. © 2022 Tony Cokes

Marta Minujín. Simultaneidad en simultaneidad. 1966. Documents, slides, and ephemera. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Promised Gift of the Institute for Studies on Latin American (ISLAA), New York. © 2022 Marta Minujín. Image courtesy Marta Minujín Studio and Henrique Faria, New York

Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujică. Videograms of a Revolution. 1992. 16mm film transferred to standard-definition video (color, sound). 106 min. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously in honor of Anna Marie Shapiro. © 2022 Harun Farocki Filmproduktion

Dana Kavelina. Letter to a Turtledove. 2020. High-definition video (color, sound). 20:55 min. Courtesy the artist and Fridman Gallery. © 2022 Dana Kavelina

Amar Kanwar. The Torn First Pages (still from The Face). 2004–2008. Nineteen-channel standard-definition video (black and white and color, sound and silent; varying durations), nineteen sheets of paper, three metal frames, books, magazines, and artist books. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of The Estate of Byron R. Meyer, Kiran Nadar, and The Contemporary Arts Council. © 2022 Amar Kanwar

Amar Kanwar. The Torn First Pages (partial installation view). 2004–2008. Nineteen-channel standard-definition video (black and white and color, sound and silent; varying durations), nineteen sheets of paper, three metal frames, books, magazines, and artist books. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of The Estate of Byron R. Meyer, Kiran Nadar, and The Contemporary Arts Council. © 2022 Amar Kanwar. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging