How Do We Know the World?
November 14, 2021 – September 2023

This two-year reinstallation of the museum’s contemporary art collection examines the ways artists have produced new forms of knowledge about the world. Nearly 100 works made primarily by Black and female artists—and many new to the collection—will reframe the museum’s holdings and follow artists in their expansive thinking and prismatic explorations of social, historical, and environmental perspectives. Among the themes explored in the exhibition are care, progress, wayfinding, witnessing, reckoning, and legacy. Grouped within and across these interrelated subjects are dynamic works across media by Robert Colescott, Paul Chan, Jadé Fadojutimi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rashid Johnson, Gisela McDaniel, Meleko Mokgosi, Martine Syms, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kay WalkingStick, Wilmer Wilson IV, and many others. The BMA is committed to telling stories that reflect the true spectrum and diversity of voices and experiences in our world. The reinstallation of the contemporary wing speaks to the museum’s commitment to sharing narratives that expand the art historical canon. As this story is continually evolving, nearly half of the works will change every six months during the two-year presentation.

“On the heels of 2020 Vision, this reappraisal and reinstallation embraces the porosities of social and cultural histories from which these collection works emerge. We’re listening to the featured artists’ stories and forging new connections. This installation is also an invitation to you. Challenge us. Question us. There is no official accounting of life,” said Jessica Bell Brown and Leila Grothe, co-curators of How Do We Know the World?.

This exhibition is curated by Jessica Bell Brown, BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, and Leila Grothe, BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.

This exhibition is supported by Transamerica, the Suzanne F. Cohen Exhibition Fund, and The Dorman/Mazaroff Contemporary Endowment Fund.

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