We Can’t Predict Tomorrow

On View: June 19 - August 28, 2021

Main Galleries

Final Day and Extended Gallery Hours: Saturday, August 28, 12pm – 8pm

Organized by guest curator Amanda Jirón-Murphy, We Can’t Predict Tomorrow is a hopeful glimpse into the unexpected ways nine artists approached the relentless tumult of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In sculpture, photography, installation, drawing, and painting, the works reveal themes that have taken on a heightened urgency under the duress of the prolonged quarantine and isolation in the U.S.: issues of social justice, climate change, and the intense longing for sanctuary, community, and shared experiences. The works in We Can’t Predict Tomorrow offer a way to heal from the trauma of the past year while simultaneously forging a joyful path into the future. Experienced together, these works transport visitors through a time when humanity lived at the knife’s edge of uncertainty and found ways to not only survive, but to keep on living.

We Can’t Predict Tomorrow features work by nine multi-disciplinary artists:

James Balo creates a safe space for the exploration of Black queer love and family histories through Black storytelling, fashion, and performance in SPEAK CHILE, which was created, performed, and filmed during the pandemic as part of Divya Nayar’s 2020 exhibition Refusing Refusal.

Nakeya Brown’s photo suite X-pressions: Black Beauty Still Lifes wistfully pays homage to black hairstyles and fashion through found objects and images from magazine advertisements and other print media from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Tommy Bobo’s Hold the divine in mine (to H.S. Leonard) is a swan song to pre-Covid collective euphoria; in this new video installation he transforms online footage of a live concert into abstract pulses of light and color.

Leigh Davis used her years of research in End of Life experiences to create Reunions – an interactive monumental black pyramid structure that can be entered by a single participant. Commonly called a “psychomanteum” by grief practitioners, the structure is intended to serve as an aid in the grieving process: visitors are encouraged to bring an object that belonged to a deceased loved one in order to spend some time in quiet remembrance.

Guarina Lopez shot the photographs included in This Native Land throughout the seasons on the traditional homelands of the Piscataway and the Anacostan in Rock Creek Park and Roosevelt Island, as well as the traditional homelands of the Tewa, Santa Clara, Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham in the Southwest. The resulting series is the Pascua Yaqui activist and artist’s photographic homage to Mother Earth. The moments of beauty, tragedy, and resilience in the landscape that Lopez captures in her photographic series serve as metaphors for the story of our nation’s first people.

Lex Marie’s newest paintings depict frank and vulnerable moments from the pandemic year as experienced by a single Black mother and artist; her unapologetic self-portrait At His Daddy’s House captures her luxuriating in a rare moment of solitude.

Jackie Milad’s wall hangings chart her reaction to the social upheaval and unrest of the pandemic from within the confines of her studio. Milad’s visual lexicon, which include fragments of ancient Egyptian imagery and snippets of Spanish text, draw heavily from her personal history and build to kaleidoscopic crescendos of color, texture and imagery.

Jared Nielsen started Animal A Day in January 2021. The project marks the passage of time with a creative challenge: to pick and study an animal a day from Wikipedia’s “Bestiary” page and then draw it in ink, often from memory. Experienced in their totality, Nielsen’s line drawings chart his growth as a draftsman while also drawing attention to the charm and diversity of planet earth’s living creatures whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Nielsen will be taking daily requests for an animal to be added to the ongoing collection throughout the exhibition; follow him at @nielsenjared on Instagram for more details.

Bahar Yürükoğlu’s IYKYK is a new sound, video, and found object installation. In the work, she poetically interprets the alternately mundane and chaotic experience of living through the pandemic in fragments of sound and imagery taken from a myriad of sources including online, in airplanes, and on the streets of Istanbul and Beirut.


Virtual Artist Talk: Thursday / July 1 / 6pm
The talk is free but registration is required. Register here.


Press Release
Summer 2021 Exhibitions Catalog

Call for Artists

Submit your work for a chance to be exhibited

Support the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington

Make a Donation

Golden: Fifty Years of New Classics

UPCOMING: Opens June 15, 2024

Curated by Al Miner

Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington is proud to present Golden: Fifty Years of New Classics, an exhibition celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Summer Camp Registration

June 17 – August 16

Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington offers a wonderful and wide range of creative summer camps for your creative students! Camps are offered for kids starting at age 5 and up to teens ages 18.

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.