MoMA PS1 returns for its fifth edition with Greater New York 2021
Installation view of Greater New York 2021 on view at MoMA PS1 from October 7, 2021 to April 18, 2022
Photo Credit: Martin Seck

MoMA PS1 returns for its fifth edition with Greater New York 2021

Greater New York at MoMA PS1 showcases artworks and installations that examine conventional narratives through an alternate lens

by STIRpad
Published on : Dec 03, 2021

First launched in the year 2000, ‘Greater New York’ is a quinquennial show that exhibits the works of contemporary artists based in the city. Corresponding to the diverse demographic of New York City, the showcase offers an intimate portrayal of the city through the distinct and variegated lens of forty-seven artists and collectives, who all hail from countries like India, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina and many more, and who have found a place for themselves in the city.

Installation view of work by E’wao Kagoshima in exhibition Greater New York 2021 on view at MoMA PS1 from October 7, 2021 to April 18, 2022 Image: Martin Seck

Postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, ‘Greater New York’, curated by a team led by Ruba Katrib, will run from 7th October, 2021 to 18th April, 2022. Especially pertinent to the present times, the exhibit offers a view of the link between histories of art-making and emerging practices. The artworks and installations at the exhibition offer new insights into past events and provoke the spectator to revisit the narratives around them with new perspectives.

This revisit and reassessment of conventional narratives is done on one hand through documentary images and archival objects and on the other, through surreal artworks that pose as expressions and manifestations of social and personal experiences. While the documentational pieces preserve key information about the events, the abstract artworks delve into the world of introspection and the consequent re-imagination of a kinder world.

On a lighter note, the showcase also exhibits works that examine the myriad connections between people, influenced by place and through time. The artists have used various strategies to articulate their biographical or acquired relationship to the city and to reexamine notions of selfhood, community, and estrangement. This edition of ‘Greater New York’ especially focuses on exhibiting the diverse narratives and experiences of people in the same place.

Painting by E’wao Kagoshima Image: E’wao Kagoshima
Children in the funeral march of Julio Roldán. 1970 by Hiram Maristany Image: Hiram Maristany

Some of the artists whose works can be viewed at the exhibition include Japanese artist Yuji Agematsu; Ahmed Morsi, who is an Egyptian critic, poet and artist; Japanese artist E’wao Kagoshima; Argentine artist, architect and painter Luis Frangella, who passed away in 1990; and Hiram Maristany, a photographer who served as the official documentarian for the New York chapter of the Young Lords Party, while also capturing moments of everyday beauty and solidarity in the life of his neighbourhood.

Installations by Yuji Agematsu Image: Stephen Faught

When Yuji Agematsu moved from Japan to NYC in 1980, he began the daily practice of walking and collecting scraps of debris from the city streets, like chewed gum, foil, bottle caps, feathers and thread. Assembling these salvaged pieces, he created unique installations that offer a picture and pulse of the city.

Installations by Yuji Agematsu Image: Stephen Faught

Ahmed Moorsi’s paintings combine human and animal figures and place them in a myriad of unlikely settings and situations that evoke emotions of estrangement and isolation. Informed primarily by his own experience as an immigrant, the themes of his paintings tally with a poem he wrote in 1996, and which is displayed near his paintings:

‘’My advice to those who wish to live in Manhattan

and fear the pursuit of Death,

crouching in the corner of an abandoned apartment,

down dark labyrinths of washing machines,

in the elevator.


Don’t look for a house built before the war.

Death lives among the tenants,

roams about wearing a mask

like the mask of others

Who wait on subway platforms’’

Green Horse I by Ahmed Morsi Image: Ahmed Morsi

The works of Luis Frangella explore the themes of sensuality and death, attending to queer desire and revisiting the historical symbols of vanitas paintings. His paintings are characterised by totemic heads and torsos.

The exhibition ‘Greater New York’ will stay on display from 7th October, 2021 to 18th April, 2022 at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101, United States.


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