New York museum displays canvas as one of seven by artists from banned countries

A painting by Zaha Hadid has been installed at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan as part of the institution’s protest against Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

The work, depicting Hahid’s unbuilt competition-winning design for The Peak in Hong Kong, is one of seven works by artists from “banned” countries which have replaced paintings by the likes of Picasso and Matisse.

MoMA carried out the rehang of its fifth-floor permanent collection overnight at the end of last week with no publicity. Curators replaced seven works by western artists with seven by artists from some of the countries on Trump’s hit list: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. The story was broken by the New York Times which described the move as “one of the strongest protests yet by a major cultural institution”.

Beside each new work is a caption stating: “This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.”

Hadid, who was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, was born in Baghdad, lived in London and died in Miami last year. Under Trump’s executive order – which is currently the subject of a legal fight – she would have been barred from entering the US prior to the UK negotiating an exemption for British citizens.

The work chosen by MoMA curators is The Peak Project, Hong Kong, China, a 130x183cm canvas dating from 1991. In it, Hadid revisited her famous 1983 proposal for a leisure club in Kowloon using synthetic polymer. The Peak was her first major competition win but was never built.

Other artists whose work now hangs alongside Picasso and Braque include Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi and and Iranian artist Charles Hossein Zenderoudi.

More works by artists from the countries hit by the “extreme vetting” order will be added in the coming weeks, according to the Art Newspaper.