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Black Trans Artist Tadáskía Astonishes Audiences at MoMA With Boundary-Pushing Work

Installation view of the exhibition “Projects: Tadáskía" Photograph by Jonathan Dorado.

The Museum of Modern Art announces Projects: Tadáskía, on view in the Museum’s street-level galleries from May 24 through October 14, 2024, as well as the acquisition of the exhibition’s centerpiece, an expansive work on paper titled ave preta mística mystical black bird (2022), into MoMA’s collection. Tadáskía is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brazil who uses drawing, sculpture, and mixed media to articulate themes of transformation and joy influenced by her experiences as a Black trans woman. The exhibition, presented in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, will be the artist’s first solo presentation in the United States, and features MoMA’s recently acquired work alongside a monumental wall drawing and sculptures made in response to the site at MoMA. Projects: Tadáskía is organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Ana Torok, the Sue and Eugene Mercy Jr. Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, with the assistance of Kiki Teshome, Curatorial Assistant, the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Inspired in part by Jean de La Fontaine’s 17th-century fables, ave preta mística mystical black bird consists of 61 sheets of paper that pair the artist’s freeform drawings with poetic text in both Portuguese and English. The narrative, which unfolds from one sheet to the next, recounts the winged protagonist’s fantastical journey toward collective growth and freedom. Across each of the drawings, images vary and morph—appearing as crescent moons, brilliant suns, or ambiguous, abstract shapes—as they punctuate the poetic text. In this work, and across her wider practice, Tadáskía often employs an improvisational approach, sometimes by closing her eyes as she begins a composition or by producing new work in response to a particular site. On the occasion of the exhibition, Tadáskía will draw from the themes of ave preta mística mystical black bird to create a large-scale, site- responsive wall drawing and sculptures in MoMA’s gallery space over several weeks.

Thelma Golden said, “There is and always has been incredible artistry coming out of Brazil and I am thrilled that Tadáskía, with her imaginative drawings and sculptures, will transport this creative dynamism and ground it in a site-specific installation for MoMA’s project space. This special collaboration is a remarkable opportunity to champion an emerging voice in contemporary art and furthers the Studio Museum’s commitment to artists of African descent globally. I am endlessly grateful to Glenn Lowry and The Museum of Modern Art for their partnership, which for five years has ensured that the critical work at the Studio Museum continues.”

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