After the Wall, MoMA, 2020

Installation view of the gallery “After the Wall” in the exhibition “Collection 1970s–Present”
November 14, 2020–November 1, 2023. IN2452.208.2. Photograph by Denis Doorly (courtesy of MoMA)

Reframing of the permanent collection After the Wall (1970s-PresentNew art from wall to wall).

How do artists confront major political shifts? The end of the 1980s witnessed a series of civic uprisings worldwide. Central and Eastern Europe experienced revolutionary changes—from the dismantling of the Berlin Wall to the breakup of Yugoslavia. The political transformations following the end of the Cold War and its imposed East-West dichotomies incited many artists to publicly reassess their countries’ entangled histories in relation to new democracies, transnational networks, and personal identity—sometimes with a sense of new possibility and sometimes with retrospective insight. They experimented with performance, montage, and fragmented narratives, underscoring art’s potential to imagine histories alternate to official interpretations. “Everything we do has a political charge and the division between politics and aesthetics is entirely erroneous,” the artist Sanja Iveković once pointedly noted.