Ceremonies Out of the Air: Ralph Lemon

Opens Nov 14

  • Upcoming
  • Exhibition
FF2019_0388_© Jose Caldeira.jpg

Ralph Lemon. Rant. 2018-present. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Jose Caldeira

This major exhibition of artist Ralph Lemon (b. 1952, Cincinnati) features more than forty artworks made over the last decade across disciplines and marks the debut of several collaborative performances. One of the most significant figures to emerge from New York’s downtown scene, Lemon engages deeply with the legacies of postmodern dance in the US and the capacity for storytelling through movement. Ceremonies Out of the Air: Ralph Lemon comprises dance, drawings, photographs, sculpture, paintings, and video throughout the museum’s expansive third-floor galleries, alongside a synchronous program of live works staged in a dedicated performance space. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Rant redux (2020–24), a major four-channel video and sound installation realized with Kevin Beasley and based on the live performance Rant (2019–ongoing). The performance program includes the US debut of In Proximity (2022) and the New York premiere of Tell it anyway (2024), and invites a series of special guests to respond to Lemon’s drawings from Untitled (The Greatest [Black] Art History Ever Told) (2015–present). Lemon’s work takes the body as an archive of raw emotion, physical labor, and received histories to challenge the ways we have been taught to see the world.

Ralph Lemon is a choreographer, writer, and visual artist based in Philadelphia. His work has been the subject of exhibitions at The Kitchen (2007/2015), Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans (2008), Studio Museum in Harlem (2012) and the Walker Art Center (2014). At MoMA, he performed in the Museum’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium for On Line: Drawing in the 20th Century (2010); he organized the performance series Some sweet day (2012); and he led the discursive project Value Talks as an Annenberg Fellow (2013–14). MoMA published the first monograph on his oeuvre, Modern Dance (2016). Lemon is a recipient of three Bessie Awards (1986, 2005, 2016), two Foundation for Contemporary Art Awards (1986, 2012), a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship and Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2012). In 2015, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. He is a 2018 recipient of the Heinz Family Foundation Award and a 2020 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Lemon won the Bucksbaum Award for his contribution to the 2022 Whitney Biennial. His works are in the permanent collections of institutions including the Walker Art Center, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


November 14, 2024




22-25 Jackson Avenue Queens, NY 11101


Ceremonies out of the air: Ralph Lemon is organized by Connie Butler, Director, MoMA PS1, and Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Curator, Department of Media and Performance, MoMA, with Kari Rittenbach, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.