GOLD IN THE MORNING
Online viewing room
July 22 to August 15, 2020
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.”
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.
SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
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