Although art is a form of expression that holds great emotional power, it has also historically been something that challenges the mainstream. It breaks from the mold and forces us to critically examine both ourselves and society as a whole. That’s precisely what is brought to a visitor’s attention in the New York City art exhibit titled ‘Off the Record’.

Tomorrow's World Today Off the Record 2

From April 2nd to September 27th, 2021, the ‘Off the Record’ art exhibit will be on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition will present photographs, prints, and paintings from 13 featured collection artists including Sadie Barnette, Sarah Charlesworth, Sara Cwynar, Leslie Hewitt, Glenn Ligon, Carlos Motta, Lisa Oppenheim, Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, Sable E. Smith, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems (one painting will also be included on loan by Tomashi Jackson).

Organized by Ashley James (Associate Curator, Contemporary Art), the collection is centered around the idea of challenging the authority of mainstream documentation and ‘truth’. The records that we keep throughout our history are objectively considered to be the truth through their perceived objectivity. This exhibit challenges that notion, tasking a group of artists to examine and revise dormant narratives and stories that haven’t been viewed critically.

Tomorrow's World Today Off the Record 1
Photo Credit: Leslie Hewitt

The title ‘Off the Record’ refers to the phrase common in journalist reporting. It is meant to refer to stories that have been left out of mainstream narratives. It is also being used in order to call out historical power dynamics that have been left out of documentation.

There are a variety of programs that will be presented both in-person and online in conjunction with the ‘Off the Record’ exhibit. One such program includes a talk between Associate Curator and exhibit organizer Ashley James and featured artist Tomashi Jackson, which is set to be posted on the Guggenheim Museum’s YouTube page in Spring 2021. There is also an Audioguide through which you can hear the exhibition artists, Guggenheim staff, and scholars share their unique perspectives on the exhibition and individual works.