Art: ‘Isa Genzken: Retrospective’ makes US debut at MoMA

MoMa brings Isa Genzken's work together for the first time in the United States. Credit: Provided
MoMa brings Isa Genzken’s work together for the first time in the United States.
Credit: Provided

MoMA’s “Isa Genzken: Retrospective” marks the American debut of this German-born artist’s 40-year career. With more than 150 objects, the show details this multidisciplinary artist’s painting, photography, drawing, film, assemblage and large-scale installations.

A central theme of her artwork is architecture and how urbanized spaces remap our environment. Genzken’s multimedia works fuse high-brow and pop culture, creating installations from the underbelly of urban consumerism.

Genzken’s art is refreshingly playful, thanks to her handmade work and DIY “junk” aesthetic. She revives objects either found on the street or bought from hobby stores and alters them into uncanny worlds.

The show is designed chronologically, categorizing Genzken through the decades. She began working in the 1970s during the heyday of Minimalism, and her large-scale wooden floor sculptures were designed to question individuals’ experiences of modern environments.

Her work through the 1980s contrasts handmade works with modern engineering. Her textured plaster, concrete and steel sculptures drastically contrast with the sleek precision of skyscrapers one would see in New York City.

The new millennium brought a transition from objects to complex installations inspired by the deposits of consumerism. Genzken’s assemblage sculptures repurpose everyday forms into unexpected placements that are both theatrical and humorous.

What to see at MoMA’s ‘Isa Genzken: Retrospective’

  • Acting as gatekeepers to Genzken’s DIY world, “Schauspieler (Actors)” (2013) resembles a sideshow jamboree of affected hipsters. Premiering at MoMA, this carnivalesque installation (pictured above) features mannequins dressed in an assortment of clothes, collage and repurposed sculptures.
  • “Red-Yellow-Black Double Ellipsoid Twin” (1982) exemplifies Genzken’s early Minimalist-inspired career. The two lacquered wood sculptures negate the efficiency of modern engineering by traversing space horizontally rather than vertically.


‘Isa Genzken: Retrospective’
Through March 10
10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
The Museum of Modern Art,
11 W. 53 St.
General admission $25


Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”


Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…


New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…


NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…


We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…


3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.


Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.


#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…


John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.


Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.


Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”


Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.


Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…


New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.


Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.


Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…