In the weeks since the Trump administration issued its executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries (which is currently being challenged in court), many cultural institutions have responded by highlighting work from artists affected by the order.
At the Museum of Modern Art, for instance, curators replaced pieces by artists like Pablo Picasso and Henry Matisse with ones representing the seven countries named in Trump’s executive order. Now, works by Iranian painter Marcos Grigorian and Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, among others, hang in the museum’s fifth-floor galleries, with the institution noting that their placement is intended “to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.”
And further uptown, the Museum of the City of New York is preparing to open a new exhibition titled “Muslim in New York,” with 32 photos from the institution’s Prints and Photographs Collection that offer a profound glimpse into the lives of Muslim New Yorkers.
“The desire to put on this exhibition sprang up out of conversations between museum staff regarding how we should respond to current events in today’s political climate,” Whitney Donhauser, the museum’s president and director, told Curbed in an email.
The exhibit will highlight the work of four photographers: Alexander Alland, Ed Grazda, Mel Rosenthal, and Robert Gerhardt. Their photos, spanning more than 70 years, capture scenes of prayer and celebration—many of the images, particularly those by Grazda, were taken at mosques—along with more quotidian scenes of children playing basketball, or shop owners with their families.
The images both celebrate the diversity of New York’s Muslim community, and show how this community is an integral part of the urban fabric of the city. “We are proud to share these images with our neighbors in New York and visitors from across the country and around the globe,” says Donhauser.