Transitional Objects

On View: June 22 - September 7, 2019

Main Galleries

Transitional Objects highlights artists who explore human relationships to inanimate material – commodities, tools, personal belongings, clothing, and all of the other nonliving substances that populate our daily lives. Working in sculpture, installation, and video, these artists experiment with unconventional materials, take inspiration from or produce functional objects, and create sculptures that elucidate both the allure and the difficulty of material forms.

In the field of psychology, the phrase ‘transitional objects’ refers to objects adopted by children as a means of soothing their own anxiety, a role played by blankets and stuffed animals but also dolls, pillows, and items of clothing. The transitional object is associated with immaturity, with a need for constant reassurance, and an inability to distinguish between living creatures and inanimate forms. But in its role as a soother of anxiety, as a tool to navigate relations with the outside world, and as an object imbued with significance beyond its own basic functionality, the transitional object foreshadows many of the roles assigned to objects by humans throughout their lives. Focusing on the alluring, disturbing, obsessive, disruptive, and excessive, Transitional Objects encourages viewers to reconsider the social, cultural, and economic significance we ascribe to objects.

Transitional Objects artists: Kyle Bauer, Calder Brannock, Dexter Ciprian, Emily Culver, Liz Ensz, Kyle Hittmeier, Trish Tillman, and Holly Trout.


Opening Reception: June 22 / 6–9pm
Gallery Talk: July 27 / 1-3pm

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An Adventure of Being

Extended to February 11, 2024

Smith & Meyer Galleries
Featured Artists: Vincent Cy Chen, Nicki Cherry, Jeremy Olson, and Stephanie J. Williams

An Adventure of Being explores blurred boundaries, physical breakdown, and states of in-between-ness. The painting, sculpture, and installations included in the exhibition incorporate materials and forms that bring to mind living beings.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

Register now! Classes begin January 21!

Whether you are giving the gift of creativity this year to a friend or family member, or you plan to set a new year’s resolution to get back into creating, sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA’s wonderful programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class.

Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty

August 5, 2023 - July 28, 2024

Front Lawn
MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to co-sponsor the installation of Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty on the Museum’s front lawn.