The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), is reinstalling the monumental wall work by Los Angeles-based artist Barbara Kruger (b. New York, 1945), Untitled (Questions) (1990/2018). The emblematic red, white, and blue artwork was originally commissioned by MOCA in 1989 for the exhibition A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation and was last installed in 1990 on the south wall of MOCA’s then Temporary Contemporary building. The work holds an iconic presence in the collective memory of Los Angeles’ art community and is considered part of the museum’s curatorial highlights over its forty year history.
This iteration will be installed on the north facade of The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, facing Temple Street, measuring 30 ft. by 191 ft. in size. The work includes nine questions such as “Who is beyond the law?”, “Who is bought and sold?”, and “Who is free to choose?” The artwork uses these questions to point to issues of patriotism, civic engagement, and power relations. The work will remain on view through November of 2020.
“I continue to try to address the issues of control, loyalty, hope, fear, and the uses and abuses of power,” says Kruger. “It’s both tragic and disappointing that this work, thirty years later, might still have some resonance.”
This installation is the first public facing project since the appointment of Klaus Biesenbach as MOCA’s new director and reflects his commitment to the museum’s active engagement in civic dialogue, democratic participation, and community activation. In connection with the work, a series of voter registration efforts will be anchored by the artwork in advance of the 2018 midterms, as well as the 2020 general election.
“When I started working as a curator in 1990s I first learned about MOCA through this iconic Barbara Kruger work,” recalls Biesenbach. “For me this work always stood for MOCA going forward and was a great emblem of the museum’s ability to engage artists and support their important role in society! It means a lot that Barbara agreed to this new installation reflecting on forty years of MOCA and at the same time looking forward with a plea for civil engagement.”
The work will remain on view for a two year period through November 2020, in celebration of MOCA’s forty year anniversary. MOCA thanks the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the City’s Cultural Affairs Commission. This project was initiated by incoming MOCA Director Klaus Biesenbach and is organized by MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson.