“Marlon Mullen: 2017–2018”

through February 17, 2019
Marlon Mullen, a Bay Area artist with autism spectrum disorder, makes paintings based on the pages of popular magazines, reinterpreting them as boldly colored, semiabstract arrangements of interlocking shapes. In works from the last two years, currently on view at JTT, Mullen focuses on the covers of art periodicals, including Art in America’s own Annual Guide.
Image: Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist; JTT, New York; and NIAD Art Center, Richmond, California.


Magazine Antiques Digital 1 (1)


through February 16, 2019

Beginning in the late 1960s, Alan Shields (1944–2005) was one of a heterogeneous group of Manhattan-based artists reinventing abstract painting. (The cohort also included Howardina Pindell, Jack Whitten, and Mary Heilmann, among others.) As did his peers, Shields explored new materials, methods, and registers; his two- and three-dimensional works mix Modernist devices like the stain and the grid with craft techniques and tribal, folk, and countercultural motifs. This exhibition, which coincides with a revival of interest in Shield’s work, focuses on the years between 1968 and 1984. Paintings on unstretched fabric, washed with color and embellished with scraps of cloth, glass beads, and machine stitching, reward close looking with a wealth of local detail—a nearly invisible grid of machine-sewn circles in one; a tangle of beads in another—while from a distance, they variously conjure Moroccan rugs, pieced quilts, and hippie jean-jacket embroideries. They are joined by sculptures made from paint-stained canvas belting, as well as typewriter drawings that imbue found texts, such as the ingredients list for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, with a mysterious urgency.

Image: Alan Shields, Untitled Cocoa Mat Painting #2, 1972–75, acrylic on cocoa mat with beads, 110 x 91 inches. Copyright © The Estate of Alan Shields /Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Photo: Steven Probert.
through March 11, 2019

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.”

Image: Cameron Rowland, D37. Courtesy of the artist.
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 June 2, 2019

An Italian contemporary of pioneering American color photographers William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992)—whose first photo book, Kodachrome (1978), appeared just two years after Eggleston’s Guide—began taking pictures in the early 1970s. Often juxtaposing reality with its representation (a wall mural, advertisement, or reflection), his surrealistic images tease, charm, and bewilder. But they also evoke the dislocations wrought by postwar consumer culture on Emilia-Romagna, the Northern Italian region where Ghirri was born and where he lived for most of his life. Comprising around 250 photographs, this exhibition, which began its tour at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, focuses on the first decade of Ghirri’s career.

Image: Luigi Ghirri, Modena, from the series “Kodachrome,” 1973, vintage c-print. Copyright © The Estate of Luigi Ghirri, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.


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

What to see in New York: Curator Phillip March Jones on shows up now [posted 12/10/18]

“You know it when you see it.” Read More »
Image: Hilma af Klint, Group IV, The Ten Largest, No. 7, Adulthood (Grupp IV, De tio största, nr 7, Mannaåldern), 1907, tempera on paper mounted on canvas, 124 x 92 ½ inches. The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm. Photo: Albin Dahlström, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

What to see in Los Angeles: Artist Anna Betbeze on shows up now [posted 10/26/18]

“The works I’m most attracted to, that make the most sense to me at this moment, are by artists who are looking deeply at our broken world and trying to reconfigure it.” Read More »
Image: Installation view of “B. Wurtz: This Has No Name,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angles, September 30, 2018–January 27, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York. Photo: Jonathan Velardi.

What to see in Los Angeles: Vincent Price Art Museum director Pilar Tompkins Rivas on shows up now [posted 1/8/19]

“I’m always one for opening up the narrative around art history and questioning how the canon is defined.” Read More »
Image: Alan Shields, Shape-Up, 1976–77, acrylic, thread, and beads on canvas belting, 75 × 72 inches. Courtesy of the Drawing Room, East Hampton, New York. Copyright © Alan Shields Estate. Photo: Gary Mamay. In “Outliers,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018–March 17, 2019.

What to see in New York: Photographer Dawoud Bey on shows up now [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.




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.