“The Shadow Archive: An Investigation into Vernacular Portrait Photography”

through March 31, 2018
The question of agency underpins this exhibition, the first in a projected series of five devoted to vernacular photography in the Walther Collection. Among the discrete groups of images on view, a trove of color photographs from the 1980s of anonymous migrant workers, its original purpose unknown, reduces them to the numbers they hold up to the camera. Elsewhere, Johannesburg-based
Image: Martina Bacigalupo, Gulu Real Art Studio, 2011–12. At the Gulu Real Art Studio in Uganda, Obal Denis made ID photos by cutting the client’s face out of a full-length portrait; he discarded the remainder of the print. In January 2011, Martina Bacigalupo, a photojournalist based in East Africa, began to collect Denis’s thrown-away, faceless images. Courtesy of the artist and the Walther Collection.


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through March 31, 2018

To make his “Quilt Paintings” in 2007 and 2008, New York–based artist Mike Cloud sewed constellations of new children’s clothes (sometimes with the tags still attached) to canvas, then added painted words and images. Stuffed with foam or stretched over starbursts of stretcher bars, these exuberant works combine bold T-shirt graphics with brushy renderings of rabbits and snowmen, and cheerful colors with ambiguous connotations.

Image: Mike Cloud, Snow Man Quilt, 2008, oil and clothes on canvas, 52 x 42 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Erben Gallery.
through January 28, 2018

According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 3,000 people perished in 2017 trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe. In far different circumstances, at least two million African captives died during the Middle Passage, between the 15th and 19th centuries, some of them thrown living into the Atlantic. The terrific new paintings at the center of Ellen Gallagher’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles continue her exploration of the history of that earlier tragedy and of the ocean as both graveyard and birthplace. In them, fragmented brown faces drift against sea-green backgrounds, conjuring the Afrofuturist myth—invented by the electronic music duo Drexciya—of an underwater realm inhabited by the unborn progeny of drowned pregnant African women.

Image: Ellen Gallagher, Aquajujidsu, 2017, oil, ink and paper on canvas, 74 x 79 1/2 inches. Copyright © Ellen Gallagher. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Ernst Moritz.
through February 18, 2018

This exhibition explores its subject from the Middle Ages through the present day. Comprising a selection of around sixty painted objects in a wide variety of materials (canvas, wood, glass, vellum, ceramics, silk, and more), the show includes work by masters of the Northern Renaissance, such as Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer, as well as major modern and contemporary figures like Jackson Pollock and 
Gerhard Richter.

Image: Gerhard Richter, Helga Matura with her Fiancé, 1966, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 × 39 1/2 inches. Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf. Copyright © Gerhard Richter 2017. Photo: Museum Kunstpalast – ARTOTHEK.
through February 10, 2018

British artist John Russell argues for hybridity’s subversive potential in his new sculptures and mixed-medium paintings. Plastic flamingos perched atop thin metal rods sprout extra heads; paintings executed on translucent vinyl panels and lit from behind function simultaneously as silhouettes, transparencies, and paint-, gem-, and feather-encrusted collages. Meanwhile, a large photograph of a bird’s foot, digitally retouched to look like it’s growing a ghostly magenta paw, hints at a post-species future.

Image: John Russell, Silhouette, 2017, acrylic, inkjet and pigment on vinyl, plastic, acrylic iridescent gem, wood, steel, LED light, 37 x 26.9 x 8.2 inches. Copyright © John Russell. Courtesy of the artist, High Art, Paris, and Bridget Donahue, New York.


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

Curator Dan Nadel on five shows in New York

“The pictures are funny and cutting and hilariously weird.” Read More »
Image: Laurie Simmons, Café of the Inner Mind: Men’s Room, 1994, cibachrome print, 41 x 58 inches. Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, and Salon 94, New York.

Philippe Verne recommends three shows in Los Angeles

“I love it when I go to an exhibition and see art I don’t know and maybe don’t even understand.” Read More »
Image: Aria Dean, Two Cotton Bales Bound Together At 250lbs Each, 2018, raw cotton, ratchet e-strap system, 53 x 44 x 22 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Ghebaly Gallery. Photo: Brica Wilcox.

Showroom director Emily Pethick on four shows in London

“It’s an important moment when such an institution acknowledges work that’s been gestating in the spaces of universities or smaller arts organizations.” Read More »
Image: Forensic Architecture, Torture in Saydnaya Prison, animation still, 2016. Witnesses were asked to describe architectural details, such as dimensions and textures, and these recollections elicited further memories of the prison and experiences therein. Commissioned by Amnesty International. Copyright © Forensic Architecture.

Collector Elisabeth van der Does-Szantyr on two Sheila Hicks shows in Paris

“The Hicks survey at the Centre Pompidou is extremely well done, her beautiful fiber pieces triumphing over the Pompidou’s rather difficult street-level space.” Read More »
Image: Installation view of “Sheila Hicks: Life Lines,” February 7-April 30, 2018, at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Copyright © Centre Pompidou/Philippe Migeat.




Engineered Content

By Eleanor Heartney
Mel Chin creates deeply researched multilayered works, tracing the links between history, science, mythology, literature, high art, and pop culture.

Aruna D’Souza and Laura Raicovich in Conversation

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

Breaking new ground

By Elizabeth Pochoda
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.

Works on Paper

By Paul Clemence
Known for its radical day-glo colors, scratch-and-sniff papers, and edgy motifs, Flavor Paper has revolutionized the wallpaper industry, from its bold designs to even the way wallpaper is sold.