Online viewing room

July 22 to August 15, 2020

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Serra Pelada is an opencast mine, a prodigious pit dug by human hands, the result of a massive influx of self-employed miners to a remote part of northeastern Brazil. The promise of gold lured more than 80 000 garimpeiros from their homes and families, to a life of arduous labour in hazardous conditions. In 1985 Alfredo Jaar traveled to Serra Pelada, and over the course of weeks, he documented these miners and their backbreaking work in the mammoth crater. It was on these bare, muddy, terraced slopes that Jaar photographed and filmed what was to become Gold in the Morning.


The resulting images are a stark portrayal of Promethean repetition; the treacherous, daily descent of the men down the slippery walls and the clambering back up, laden with sacks of sodden earth. Beyond the graphic representation of their toils, the works reveal the humanity of the miners and their suffering. Jaar provides a portal into a hidden and unfamiliar place, dramatic in its scale and topography. In giving ‘visibility to those our world denies it to’, Jaar invites us to examine the social, cultural and political motivations for their labour. This illuminated installation counterbalances the great, faceless demand of the industrialised world with a profusion of faces: the faces of those, in the developing world, who supply. Jaar is known for his uncompromisingly frank documentary imagery, as well as his public interventions. He describes himself as a project artist, preferring to spend extended periods in the field, rather than being sequestered in a studio. He explains, “I do not create my works in the studio. I wouldn’t know what to do. I do not stare at a blank page of paper and start inventing a world coming only from my imagination. Every work is a response to a real-life event, a real life situation.”


Gold in the Morning A - I, 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning (A), 1985   + INFO

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Gold in the Morning (C), 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning (B1), 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning (D), 1985   + INFO

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Gold in the Morning (G) - Stairway to Heaven, 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning, 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning (Triptych), 1985   + INFO


Gold in the Morning, Special edition for Documenta 11, 2002   + INFO




Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York.  He is known as one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today.


His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).


Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008); Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012); Rencontres d’Arles (2013); KIASMA, Helsinki (2014) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017).


The artist has realized more than seventy public interventions around the world. Over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. He received the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018, and most recently he has been awarded the prestigious Hasselblad prize for 2020. 


His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MOCA and LACMA, Los Angeles; MASP, Museu de Arte de São Paulo; TATE, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MAXXI and MACRO, Rome; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlaebeck; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan; M+, Hong Kong; and dozens of institutions and private collections worldwide.



21C Museum Foundation, Louisville, Kentucky

Les Abattoirs de Toulouse, Toulouse, France

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Chase Manhattan, New York, New York

DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Berlin, Germany

Daros Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland

Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima

Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan

J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York, New York

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebaek, Denmark

Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida

M+, Hong Kong

MONA - Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland

Musée National d´Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago, Chile

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Léon, Spain

El Museo del Barrio, New York, New York

Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz, Spain

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Museum het Domein, Sittard, the Netherlands

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Contemporary Arts Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, California

The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

New York Public Library, New York, New York

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida

Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Cultural Center, South Brisbane, Australia

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

Tate Britain, London, England

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

Williams College Museum of Art, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, United Kingdom