MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street, NYC
Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America
Through May 31, 2021
The fourth installment of the Museum of Modern Art’s Issues in Contemporary Architecture series, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America explores the intersection of systemic racism, Blackness, and the built environment. A collective of 10 architects, designers, and artists were tasked with creating narratives around conditions of specific American cities, resulting in a holistic representation of architectural identity that both examines past histories and speculates possible futures. Emanuel Admassu’s Immeasurability, a textile map of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge separating Africa from the Americas, considers the effects of the transatlantic slave trade on the displacement of Black communities in contemporary Atlanta. Nearby, a conceptual future by Olalekan Jeyifous, The Frozen Neighborhoods, imagines a world in which Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood has been cut off from the rest of the city, resulting in a thriving vertical community of farmer’s markets and seed banks.
The exhibition asks a central question: Who gets to create and occupy America’s architectural spaces? It challenges the discipline and calls into conversation the institutional role of the museum itself. Simultaneously, the contemporary multimedia works highlight the possibilities and realities of designed space as a vehicle for resistance and liberation. The exhibit was curated by Sean Anderson, MoMA’s associate curator of architecture and design, and Mabel O. Wilson, professor at Columbia University.