Nothing in MoMA is a series of photographs captured in areas of Manhattan museums in which there are no artworks, written words, or people. Addressing the “grammar that organizes and secures our scene of looking,” in the words of art historian David Joselit’s introduction, the book imagines a composite empty museum or a narrative of marginal attention. Originally displayed in partial prototype as a children’s board book at Artists Space in 2015, Nothing in MoMA is here collected for the first time in the series’ entirety.
Evoking the history of indeterminacy as much as that of institutional critique, the deadpan composition of Adams’s photographs likewise recalls François Jullien’s theory of bland aesthetics, in a playful reductio of socio-institutional space to a bare literality. Both a visual essay on museum phenomenology and a performance document, Nothing in MoMA describes a choreography of avoidance, in which a conceptual constraint becomes a means of seeing and navigating concrete space.