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The Met Breuer


Gelatin silver print, ca.1970

By Nasreen Mohamedi

Although Mohamedi constantly traveled with her camera, most of the actual locations of her photos can’t be identified. This is because she used her photos not to document landscapes but to detail the commonly disregarded geometry hidden within the landscapes. In fact, in a 1970 diary entry, she notes with admiration, “What geometry one finds on the beach.” As seen in the photograph, Mohamedi focused on the intricate forms of natural phenomena such as the linear striations of sand along a shoreline and the curve of a wave. These lines and shapes are further intensified by the sharp contrasts of black and white photography.


Ink and graphite on paperboard, ca.1975

By Nasreen Mohamedi

Working in pencil and paper at an architect’s drafting table, Mohamedi drew precise contrasting delicate and hard-edged lines. Even though she was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a debilitating condition that slowly damages motor functions, Mohamedi was able to persevere and continue to draw steady geometric forms. Her meticulousness in her craft demonstrates her extreme discipline regarding her artistic practices. In addition, the variations in the thickness of the lines suggest a deliberate concern for movement and space. The way Mohamedi is able to craft a seemingly three-dimensional form on two-dimensional paper only adds another layer to the calculated complexity of her work.


Diary page with ink on paper, ca.1970

By Nasreen Mohamedi

"Though Mohamedi used her notebooks to record her observations, she also used the physical form of the books as an informal drawing place. The lined format of schedule books allowed Mohamedi to work within and alter a preexisting framework. While following and drawing over the horizontally ruled lines with a felt tip pen, she would sometimes break the consistency of the parallel lines by intersecting a diagonal form. The method by which she observes and creates polygonal shapes in her daily planner demonstrates her dedication to her craft and the way she uses ordinary situations similarly to the approach she adopts with her photographs."

Photos taken by Annie Zhang
Captions written by Annie Zhang

Nine minutes and nine seconds—the time it takes to walk from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to the museum’s new addition: The Met Breuer. On March 18, The Met Breuer opened its doors to the public, an event highly anticipated by the art world. In the building formerly occupied by the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Met Breuer currently displays a collection dedicated to contemporary and modern art. Presently, the two inaugural exhibitions include “Nasreen Mohamedi,” which features the work of the twentieth century Indian Modernist, and “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible,” which displays a wide range of art across many centuries in the non-finito (not finished) style.

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