Fearless Art

by Claudia Fennell '24 on September 18, 2022
A&E Co-Editor


Wolfgang Tillmans’ Exhibition at the MoMA

The newest exhibition to be featured at The Museum of Modern Art will showcase the artwork of Wolfgang Tillmans. The exhibition is titled “To look without fear,” and will be on display from September 12 to January 1, 2023. The exhibition will contain mostly photographs, along with some short videos taken over various periods of the photographer’s lengthy career.

The showcase of Tillmans’s work will be presented to viewers in the same way that Tillmans always displays his art. The artist makes fresh prints of his work before viewing and sticks them on the wall using tape or binder clips. Additionally, in typical Tillmans style, the pieces will be placed on the wall in a nonchalant way, as if they were randomly thrown up on the wall anywhere they fit. While the photographs appear to be placed randomly, the pieces on the walls of the MoMA were strategically placed, down to the exact inch.

As Tillmans’s career has progressed throughout the past few years, he has chosen to adopt more of a political viewpoint in his work. At the beginning of his career, the artist was more carefree about the significance behind each of his photographs, while now he takes great care to tie in some politics around each piece. Following the Orlando nightclub shooting at Pulse, a gay bar, in 2016, one of Tillmans’s photographs showcased two men kissing at a London nightclub. The message behind his exhibition at the MoMA is “democracy in action” and will showcase the world around Tillmans.

One of the artist’s most famous pieces is featured on the cover of rapper Frank Ocean’s album “Blonde.” The photo features Frank Ocean covering his face with a bandaged hand, hair green and wet from the shower in the background. Tillmans took this photo of the rapper and will be displaying it at his exhibition.

One of Tillmans’s installations at MoMA is massive, taking up most of the largest room. It is titled “Truth Study Center” and features 18 tables covered in hundreds of photographs. Mixed in with the photographs are stickers, newspapers, and notes the author had written to himself, marking important moments in history. The New York Times wrote about one of his messages included in the installation, which reads, “Martin Luther King’s ‘I Had a Dream’ speech was 27 years prior to 1990. 27 years past 1990, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as President of the United States.” The artist explained that these messages helped him visualize the timeline of the country around himself.