American Artist and Harmony Holiday On Bringing Soul and Surveillance to the Guggenheim

Installation view, "Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility," Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photography by Midge Wattles and courtesy of American Artist and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

“Among the human rights is the right to remain obscure, unseen, and dark,” writes the critic, novelist, and photographer Teju Cole in his 2021 book of essays Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time. The artistic collateral of that liberty is at the crux of the Guggenheim’s new survey, “Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility,” which displays over 100 works by 28 artists, from Lorna Simpson and Dawoud Bey to Sondra Perry and Rebecca Belmore. The mediums on view, ranging from sculpture and photography to painting and video, emphasize the expansive topography of the central question: What are the stakes of seeing and being seen?

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