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Release Date: November 5, 2019

Richard Mosse: Incoming
November 17, 2019–April 5, 2020
East Building, Concourse Level

Still from Richard Mosse, Incoming, 2014–2017, three-channel video with sound, 52:10 minutes, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee and Robert B. Menschel Fund. © Richard Mosse. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Still from Richard Mosse, Incoming, 2014–2017, three-channel video with sound, 52:10 minutes, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee and Robert B. Menschel Fund. © Richard Mosse. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Washington, DC—Mesmerizing and unsettling, the immersive video Incoming (2014–2017) by Richard Mosse (b. 1980) presents viewers with the sights and sounds of a pressing issue of our time: mass migration. Seeking a new way to shed light on the refugee crisis and "the urgent narratives of human displacement," Mosse and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten capture fragments of events along two major pathways leading into Europe—one from Africa, the other from the Middle East—using a highly specialized surveillance camera. Originally designed for military use, the camera produces images by detecting thermal radiation, including the heat of a human body, from as far as 18 miles away. The effect allows Mosse to walk a tightrope, exposing the intimate stories of these refugees while providing a veil of privacy, isolating the plight of individuals while underscoring their interconnectedness with all humanity.

Along the eastern route Mosse aims the camera from the Turkish border into Syria, where we witness an airstrike. Other moments reveal the deafening roar of American fighter jets, and the urgency of first responders on shore. Along the second route, leading north through Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea, Mosse shows glimpses of the migrants' journey and the struggle to secure a spot aboard overloaded transport vehicles making the dangerous journey across the Sahara Desert. Scenes from the emergency shelter at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and the notorious Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France suggest the migrants' bleak and tenuous circumstances.

Projected on three large screens at 24 frames per second (slowed from the usual 60 frames per second), Incoming is accompanied by a haunting score composed of ambient sound by Ben Frost, played on seven channels of surround sound. A recent acquisition purchased with funds from the Collectors Committee and a gift from Robert B. Menschel, the 52-minute video work will be installed on the East Building Concourse and accompanied by nine photographic stills from the film.

Made possible through the generous support of the Trellis Fund.

The installation is curated by Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, and Andrea Nelson, associate curator, department of photographs, with technical assistance from Brian Dooda, audiovisual systems specialist, department of media production.

Related Programs

A Conversation with Richard Mosse
November 17 at 2:00 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall
Richard Mosse, artist, with Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art, and Andrea Nelson, associate curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art
The program will be streamed at
Made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

Arnold Newman Lecture Series on Photography: Teju Cole and Fazal Sheikh
March 18 at 6:30 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall
Teju Cole, artist, curator, novelist, photography critic of the New York Times Magazine (2015–2019), and Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing, Harvard University; Fazal Sheikh, artist and visiting lecturer, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University
The conversation will be streamed live at
A book signing of Human Archipelago follows. The Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation generously supported this series.

Education Programs
Various programs will offer visitors opportunities for reflection. Planned programs include pop-up writing and poetry activities immediately outside the installation and art activities exploring the concept of home in the Gallery's education studio.

Teacher Workshop
Exploring Complex Global Issues through Slow Looking
January 30 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Register at
In a world saturated with images, from the superficial to the horrific, how do we focus attention on what truly matters? This workshop will explore one of the most pressing issues of our time—mass migration—through an immersive video installation by Richard Mosse, Incoming (2014–2017). Participants will experience the power of slow looking in exploring works of art, ourselves, and our world. The workshop will consider the role of artist as activist and will conclude with time for reflection and connections to classroom practice.

Teachers of all subjects and grade levels (prekindergarten through grade 12), homeschoolers, and pre-service educators are welcome.

Press Contact:
Isabela Bulkeley, (202) 842-6864 or [email protected]


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Isabela Bulkeley
(202) 842-6864
[email protected]