“Soft Water Hard Stone”, the 2021 New Museum Triennial

October 11, 2021
Gabriela Mureb, Machine #4: stone, 2014–17. Stone, electric motor, and aluminum. 35 ×75 × 25 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Central Galeria, São Paulo

The title of the 2021 New Museum Triennial, “Soft Water Hard Stone,” is inspired by a proverb the curators first encountered in Brazil: Água mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura (Soft water on hard stone hits until it bores a hole). Join Triennial artists Laurie Kang, Gabriela Mureb, and catalogue contributor and curator Raphael Fonseca for a roundtable exploration of this axiom, which offers multiple readings that simultaneously engage historical and contemporary contexts. Moderated by Bernardo Mosquiera, ISLAA Curatorial Fellow at the New Museum, the panel will consider the proverb and how it relates to each participant’s practice and the Triennial at large.


Raphael Fonseca is a researcher in the areas of curating, art history, art criticism, and education. He was curator of the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, from 2017 to 2020, and is one of the curators of the next edition of the SescVideobrasil Biennial (2023).

Laurie Kang (b.1985) lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Recent solo exhibitions of her work include “Her Own Devices,” Franz Kaka, Toronto (2020); “Eidetic Tides,” Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Canada (2019); “Beolle,” Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Canada (2019); and “Channeller,” Interstate Projects, Brooklyn (2018). Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at SculptureCenter, New York (2020); Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada (2019); Cue Art Foundation, New York (2019); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2017); and The Power Plant, Toronto (2015).

Bernardo Mosqueira is a curator, writer, and researcher based in New York and Rio de Janeiro. He is ISLAA Curatorial Fellow at the New Museum, New York, and artistic director of Solar dos Abacaxis, Rio de Janeiro.

Gabriela Mureb (b. 1985) lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recent solo exhibitions of her work include “Rrrrrrrrrrrrr,” Central Galeria, São Paulo (2017). Mureb has participated in group shows at Fosso, Rio de Janeiro (2019, 2018); Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro (2018); Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro (2018); Festival Multiplicidade, Rio de Janeiro (2017); Festival Internacional de Música Experimental, Barcelona (2017); Centro Cultural, São Paulo (2017); Museu Histórico Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (2016); Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro (2016); and Queer NY International Arts Festival, New York (2013). Mureb is part of the experimental music Project MUTA.

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