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“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”

Through February 3, 2019.
Presenting roughly 150 works by sixty African American artists, including celebrated figures like Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Betye Saar, Jack Whitten, Lorraine O’Grady, David Hammons, Faith Ringgold, and Noah Purifoy, this exhibition traces the many facets of black artistic practice during the tumultuous 1963–83 period in America between the civil rights era and the heyday of the Black Power movement.
Image: Barkley L. Hendricks, Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved any Black People—Bobby Seale), 1969, oil, acrylic and aluminum leaf on linen canvas, 59 1/2 x 48 inches. Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. Copyright © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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EDITORS’ PICKS

through December 2, 2018

American abstractionist Jack Whitten, who died in early 2018, is justly celebrated for working magic with acrylic paint—combing it, carving it, and casting tiles, membranes, and objects out of it to use in tessellated or collaged compositions—but he’s less well known as a sculptor. This show of his  sculptures, organized by the Met Breuer, New York, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, brings together some forty works. Made on summer trips to Greece starting in the 1970s and inspired by African, Cycladic, and African American vernacular art, they incorporate bones, nails, drawer pulls, circuit boards, fishing line, and carved wood and marble. The pieces evince the same engagement with process as Whitten’s two-dimensional works, a kinship underscored by the inclusion of eighteen of his paintings.

Image: Jack Whitten, Mirsini’s Doll, ca. 1975, Cretan Walnut, Black Mulberry, 14 1/2 x 5 x 3.25 inches. Collection of Mirsini Amidon. Copyright © The Estate of Jack Whitten. Courtesy The Estate of Jack Whitten and Hauser & Wirth.
Through February 3, 2019

This survey provides a comprehensive view of B. Wurtz’s photos, paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which monumentalize humble, everyday materials like food containers, bits of clothing, and scraps of wood and metal. The show includes some of Wurtz’s early hybrid pieces from the 1980s that pair a dramatic photo of a given object with the item itself. Many of his playful, delicately constructed tableaux made up of elements such as plastic and mesh bags, aluminum pans, ribbons, and socks are also featured in the show.

Image: B. Wurtz, Untitled (bread painting #3), 2010, Acrylic on canvas, plastic, thread, 59 x 39 x 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.
through February 24, 2019

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).

Image: Installation view of “Tania Bruguera, Hyundai Commission,” Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2018. Photo copyright © Tate photography (Andrew Dunkley).
through January 27, 2019

Dorothea Lange’s celebrated photographs of rural life during the Great Depression, commissioned by the Farm Security Administration, are animated by her concern for the impoverished farmers she depicts. Conveying a similar empathy are the rarely seen pictures she took of Japanese-American “evacuees” at the Manzanar internment camp during World War II. Featured in this retrospective, the series serves as a timely reminder of the US government’s history of aiming harsh policies at perceived foreigners. The exhibition—which was organized by the Oakland Museum of California, where it premiered—encompasses over 240 vintage prints and archival materials, such as a letter to Lange from John Steinbeck.

Image: Dorothea Lange, Centerville, California. This evacuee stands by her baggage as she waits for evacuation bus. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration, 1942 (printed later), gelatin silver print, 21 x 17 ¼ inches. Courtesy National Archives.

VOICES

Art in America talks to artists, curators, and other leading figures about their favorite current exhibitions.

Photographer Dawoud Bey on two shows in New York [published 08/09/2018]

“I get back to my New York City hometown periodically, and more often than not I’m drawn there by exhibitions that I know will haunt me if I miss them.” Read More »
Image: Maren Hassinger, Monuments, 2018, eight site-specific sculptures in Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery. Photo: Adam Reich.

Warhol scholar Neil Printz on two exhibitions in New York [published 10/2/2018]

”Whitten’s and Delacroix’s works actually fit together, in their richness and urgency.” Read More »
Image: Jack Whitten, Quantum Man (The Sixth Portal), 2016, marble, Cretan walnut, Serbian oak, lead, acrylic, mixed media. Collection of the Estate of Jack Whitten, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

Writer Allie Biswas on “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” at the National Portrait Gallery [posted 10/18/18]

“One of the show’s revelations is how knowledgeable Jackson was about art.” Read More »
Image: Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson, n.d., black-and-white photograph. Copyright © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London.

Artist B. Wurtz on five exhibitions in New York [published 9/24/2018]

“You really sense the artists’ genuine involvement.” Read More »
Image: Charline von Heyl, Mana Hatta, 2017, acrylic, oil and charcoal on linen, 82 x 70 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York.

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The author of Whitewalling: Art, Race, & Protest in 3 Acts and the former Queens Museum director talk over dumplings in Flushing.

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Picturing Mississippi at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson and a related exhibition at Tougaloo College are events in museum history as much as landmarks in the state’s history.

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