“Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future”
“Nauman does not add to my own experience of art so much as cast in an unflattering light, and even plunge into tormenting doubt, the generality of that experience.” So wrote Peter Schjeldahl in Art in America in 1994, responding to a Bruce Nauman survey at the Reina Sofía in Madrid. In videos, sculptures, and installations, Nauman has persistently used linguistic play and spatial manipulation to probe the fears and desires that underlie perception. This retrospective at MoMA PS1 (which debuted at the Schaulager in Münchenstein, Switzerland, in spring 2018), includes over 120 works, tracing the themes and questions that the artist has repeatedly turned to in his half-century career. A concurrent presentation at the Museum of Modern Art features six large-scale installations from the 1970s that heighten one’s sense of embodiment through disorienting effects of illusion and confinement. All in all, the exhibition promises to leave viewers “exalted and beaten up,” as Schjeldahl once felt.
Cameron Rowland creates installations of existing objects and documents that expose America’s inequities, particularly those deriving from the poisonous legacy of slavery. The artist’s 2016 show at New York’s Artists Space, for example, consisted of examples of commercial goods, including office desks and firefighting suits, made by inmates—a disproportionate number of whom are African American men incarcerated for petty crimes—working for less than minimum wage in state prisons; these were accompanied by a brochure tracing the roots of what has been called the re-enslavement of black Americans. Rowland’s commissioned project for The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles brings together items such as an antebellum tax record; a MOCA donor plaque acknowledging the patronage of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles; and objects seized by police through the process of civil asset forfeiture to examine the racist dimensions of state and market forces’ property “accumulation by dispossession.”
Part political art and part political action, Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s work has taken myriad forms, among them a 2014 public performance in which she invited everyday Cubans to step up to a podium in Havana’s Revolution Square and speak their minds (the event was canceled by Cuban authorities, who also arrested several would-be participants) as well as a storefront community center in New York City offering services to recent immigrants. In 2008, Bruguera had policemen on horseback storm Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and corral surprised visitors into the center of the gallery—transforming audience members into state-controlled citizens, according to the artist. This season, Bruguera returns to Tate Modern with a new commissioned piece, involving a heat-sensitive floor, expanding on her concept of Arte Útil (art as a social tool).
At seventy-seven,Tadao Ando shows no sign of slowing down. The self-taught Japanese architect recently completed his first condominium in New York, named for its location, 152 Elizabeth Street, and is currently transforming a nineteenth-century Parisian stock exchange, the Bourse de Commerce, into an art gallery. Models for this latest project and sixty-nine older buildings, such as the iconic concrete Church of Light (1994) outside Osaka, are on display in the Centre Pompidou’s exhibition, along with 180 photographs and drawings documenting Ando’s globe-spanning career.
Artist Anna Betbeze on three shows in Los Angeles [posted 10/26/18]
Photographer Dawoud Bey on two shows in New York [published 08/09/2018]
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