“Kay Rosen: Stirring Words”

through April 7, 2018
Form and meaning converge in Kay Rosen’s word-based art, which of late has become more overtly political. This exhibition shows her corralling letterforms and language into protest signs for our times. Referring to the Republicans’ decades-long battle for tax cuts for the rich, the wall painting Trickle Down (2016–2018) starts with “TRICK” on one line, with the rest of the phrase stacked below it; elsewhere, the title of the mural-sized White House v. America (2018) is shortened to a giant “WHvAM.”
Image: Kay Rosen, Triumph Over Trump (Blue Over Yellow), 2017, acryla gouache on watercolor paper, 22 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Copyright © 2018 Kay Rosen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

EDITORS' PICKS

“B. Wurtz: This Has No Name”

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.

“Tania Bruguera”

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).

“Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963–2017,”

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.

“Charles White: A Retrospective”

through January 13, 2019

Having participated in Works Progress Administration arts projects and, in the late 1940s, spent some time with the revolutionary Taller de Gráfica Popular print collective in Mexico, Charles White (1918–1979) pursued a social realist path that was worlds apart from what he once called “the inhuman and abstract direction in which so many of the young artists of my own country were moving.” Debuting at the Art Institute of Chicago, from whose school he graduated in 1938, this survey features around eighty prints, drawings, and paintings by this Chicago-born figure who sought to convey the dignity of working people and to instill African Americans with a sense of cultural pride.

Image: Charles White, Paul Robeson (Study for Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America), 1942-43, carbon pencil over charcoal, with additions and corrections in white gouache, and border in carbon pencil, on cream drawing board. 24 7/8 × 19 1/16 inches. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Kathleen Compton Sherrerd Fund for Acquisitions in American Art. Copyright © The Charles White Archives / Art Resource, New York.

“Mika Rottenberg”

through November 4, 2018

Through surreal videos—in which sweatshop workers churn out such absurdist products as cheese made from the milk of women’s hair; wet wipes impregnated with sweat; and live bunnies—Argentine-born Israeli artist Mika Rottenberg addresses real-life subjects, including immigration, labor, and inequality.  A survey of her work, which inaugurates the Assemble-designed Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, will include two new works commissioned for the show.

Image: Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant), 2015, sculpture and video installation. Installation view in “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, September 8 - November 4, 2018. Photo: Andy Keate. Image courtesy of the artist and Goldsmiths CCA.

“David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night”

Through September 30, 2018

By the time he died of AIDS at age thirty-seven in 1992, the largely self-taught artist David Wojnarowicz had established himself as a creative force in painting, photography, filmmaking, performance, critical and creative writing, and gay activism. A quintessential East Village figure (his friends included Kiki Smith, Peter Hujar, Zoe Leonard, Karen Finley, and Nan Goldin), he famously—and vociferously—took on such champions of bourgeois propriety as Cardinal John O’Connor, William F. Buckley, and the American Family Association. This retrospective of his work draws primarily from the museum’s own Wojnarowicz holdings.

Image: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One day this kid . . .), 1990-91, photostat mounted on board, sheet: 29 13/16 × 40 1/8 × 3/16 inches, image: 28 1/8 × 37 1/2 inches. Image copyright © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

“Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams”

through January 01, 2019

In sculptures of futuristic buildings and cities, Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948– 2015) articulated a utopian vision of a more productive, more peaceful, more just global community. Made from cardboard, paper, plastic, found objects, and printed commercial packaging, Kingelez’s exuberant models of soaring towers, streamlined buildings, and gracious public squares embodied his hopes for the newly independent African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and extended them to the wider world.

Image: Bodys Isek Kingelez, Stars Palme Bouygues, 1989, mixed media construction, 39 3/8 × 15 3/4 × 15 3/4 inches. Courtesy van Lierde collection, Brussels. Photo: Vincent Everarts Photography, Brussels.

“Jessie Dunahoo”

through August 31, 2018, by appointment

Kentucky artist Jessie Dunahoo (1932–2017), who was born deaf and lost his sight as a young man, made astonishing quilt-like panels from plastic shopping bags, fabric scraps, and yarn, each the exact size of his work table, and each a visually sophisticated arrangement of colors and textures; irregular voids and regimented grids; solid shapes and imprinted images and words. Institute 193’s Phillip March Jones, who will open a branch of the Lexington-based space on the Lower East Side this fall, has curated an installation of Dunahoo’s work in Elaine de Kooning’s former studio in East Hampton, New York.

Image: Installation view of “Jessie Dunahoo” at Elaine de Kooning House, East Hampton, New York, 2018.

VOICES

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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.”

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.
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Curator Dan Nadel on five shows in New York [posted 6/4/2018]

“The pictures are funny and cutting and hilariously weird.”

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.
New York

Ruby Sky Stiler and Daniel Gordon on three shows in New York [posted 4/17/2018]

“We were alternately uplifted and a little nauseated.”

Image: Isa Genzken, Actor (Schauspieler), 2013, mannequin, clothes, shoes, fabric, and paper, 59 1/16 × 59 1/16 × 59 1/16 inches. SYZ Collection, Swizerland. Copyright © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. In “Life Like: Sculpture, Color, and the Body” at the Met Breur, New York, March 21–July 22, 2018.
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MOCA LA director Philippe Verne on Cathy Wilkes at MoMA/P.S.1 [posted 2/27/2018]

”I love the way Wilkes pushes sculpture and installation in a very subjective direction that for me is both totally seductive and extremely dark.”

Image: Cathy Wilkes, Untitled, 2012. Gift of the Speyer Family Foundation and Mrs. Saidie A. May (by exchange). Copyright © 2017 Cathy Wilkes.
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Critic and curator Joseph Wolin on two New York shows [Published 2017/12/08]

“On view at the same time as the New Museum’s show “Trigger: Gender As a Tool and a Weapon,” are a couple of exhibitions I’d recommend seeing by artists who, like those in “Trigger,” are expanding the concept of gender.”

Image: Benjamin Kress, Strange Muses II, 2017, oil on linen, 56 x 42 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. Photography Sean Fader
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Artist and poet Jibade-Khalil Huffman on two NY shows he’d like to spend more time with [Published 2017/09/13]

“I’m always on board with not understanding.”

Image: Installation view of the exhibition “Kameelah Janan Rasheed: A Supple Perimeter,” Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center at Governors Island, New York, 2017. Photograph: Ornella Friggit.
New York

Warhol scholar Neil Printz on four shows around New York and the question of context [Published 2017/09/06]

“Context is the people you know, but it’s also, maybe, the people you want to know.”

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Mary Heilmann on Irving Penn at the Metropolitan Museum of Art [Published 2017/07/17]

An abstract painter tells us what fashion’s got to do with it.

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