Cabinet Secrets: Black Square
A corner dedicated to the display of prints and print albums from the Museum’s collection, Cabinet Secrets focuses on a single work or a small cluster of works.
This modest scope allows freedom from the binding contexts of a comprehensive exhibition.
On 2 June 2020, several US television channels synchronized for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to broadcast a black screen, accompanied by the sound of choked breath and the words “I can’t breathe” written across. It was an act of solidarity and protest following the death by asphyxiation of African American George Floyd in the hands of a policeman on 25 May.
The call to stop and speak out spread across social media, which was flooded with black squares. Over 14 million black squares were uploaded to Instagram in one day, hashtagged #blackouttuesday. People, commercial companies and public organizations stopped working, marketing, advertising and content sharing in order to express support for the struggle of African American citizens against police brutality.
Following the renewed power imbued by social media into the abstract image, the current display features prints from the Museum collection, made over the years using various techniques and varied compositions, all centering—literally and metaphorically—on a black square (against a white background).