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EDITORS' PICKS

“Jamian Juliano-Villani: Ten Pound Hand”

through February 24

Obstreperous representational painter Jamian Juliano-Villani combines found images—mined from the Internet, art-history books, cartoons, album covers, advertising, and old magazines—to produce hyperreal, psychologically charged scenes. Featuring individual characters in alien circumstances, the ten new canvases in her second solo show at JTT are faster reads than those from the recent past, but no less haunting for that. The body of a baby excavated from Pompeii floats in an empty school hallway; a fish drinks Coca-Cola as Los Angeles burns; a green, froglike creature perches on a white-painted metal ladder, blithely out of place.

Image: Jamian Juliano-Villani, Three Penny Opera, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 74 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York.

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

through March 31

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 photographer Santu Mofokeng’s slide show of late-19th- and early 20th-century studio portraits of middle-class black South Africans has intertitles that provide biographical information on some of the sitters, while also speculating on what their real-life experiences might have been.

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.

“Richard Serra: Sculpture and Drawings”

through December 22

Even quiet works by Richard Serra, arguably the greatest abstract sculptor alive today, have a resounding physical presence. Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure (2017) consists of four enormous, unpainted, forged-steel cylinders, each of a different height and diameter but all the same weight—an impressive 82 tons—installed in a white-painted gallery (whose floors are reinforced to accommodate Serra’s sculptures). The cylinders are rough-surfaced, resembling bark or stone and evoking nature at her most austere.

Image: Richard Serra, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, 2017, forged steel, four rounds measuring 120 1/2 inches high x 78 inches in diameter; 87 1/2 inches high x 91 inches in diameter; 64 1/4 inches high x 110 inches in diameter; and 45 3/4 inches high x 127 1/4 inches in diameter. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Gallery. Photo by Cristiano Mascaro.

“Michaelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer”

through February 12, 2018

This once-in-a-lifetime show featuring works that rarely travel offers US audiences a nuanced perspective on the achievements of High Renaissance polymath Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564). At the heart of the exhibition are more than 150 drawings, works that exemplify why the Florentine artist was regarded in his time as a master of disegno. Three marble sculptures, an architectural model, and a virtuosic painting that Michelangelo produced as a teenage prodigy round out this survey commemorating an artist known among his contemporaries as “the divine one.”

Image: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi, 1532, drawing in black chalk; 16 3/16 x 11 1/2 inches. The British Museum, London.

“Stephen Shore”

through May 28, 2018

Stephen Shore’s career comes full circle with his exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1961, when Shore was a mere fourteen years old, MoMA photography department director Edward Steichen purchased three of his works for the collection (the enterprising teenager had called him up to arrange a meeting). Now, the museum is presenting hundreds of Shore’s photographs in a survey that includes his early black-and-white prints as well as his famous 1970s color images chronicling America’s grand natural expanses and sunbaked parking lots, its flat Main Street facades and ordinary characters. A more recent series brings the artist’s distinctive aesthetic to bear on places such as Israel and Ukraine.

Image: Stephen Shore, Breakfast, Trail’s End Restaurant, Kanab, Utah, August 10, 1973, 1973, chromogenic color print, 16 7/8 × 21 1/4 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. Copyright © 2017 Stephen Shore.

“Laura Owens”

through February 4, 2018

The first artist to be given a midcareer survey at the Whitney Museum’s downtown location, Laura Owens is a remarkably chameleonlike painter. Over the past twenty years, she has employed a diverse array of techniques and vocabularies, ranging from the cheerily clumsy figuration of folk painting to imitations of digital image editing (an interest that has also extended to the incorporation of digitally printed wallpaper and conversational text elements into her canvases). These striking effects can overshadow another crucial aspect of Owens’s work—her attention to how the site of a painting’s display determines her decisions about size and color. The Whitney show rectifies this oversight in Owens’s reception by reconstructing the environments of her early exhibitions.

Image: Laura Owens, Untitled, 2012 (detail), acrylic, oil, vinyl paint, charcoal, yarn, and cord on hand-dyed linen, 33 panels, 35 1/2 x 33 1/4 inches each. Collection of Maja Hoffmann/LUMA Foundation. Copyright © Laura Owens.

“Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound”

through January 6, 2019

In this group exhibition, audio-visual works by ten artists translate ancient worldviews into new media. Stephen Foster, of the Haida Nation in the Pacific Northwest, contributes Raven Brings the Light (2011), an interactive installation that retells the myth of a childlike trickster who breaks the grip of darkness on the world. Julie Nagam, a Winnipeg-based artist and art historian of the Anishinaabe Nation, presents a new video installation titled our future is in the land, if we listen to it that carries a powerful message of environmental preservation and sovereignty.

Image: Nicholas Galanin, Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan (We will again open this container of wisdom that has been left in our care), 1 and 2, 2006 (video still), digital video projection with sound. Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian.

“Bartolomé Esteban Murillo”

National Gallery, London, February 28–May 21, 2018

This show focuses on two rare self-portraits—one owned by the Frick Collection in New York, the other by London’s National Gallery—by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682), the Spanish Baroque artist best known for religious paintings and genre scenes of beggars and street urchins. Fifteen other works by Murillo, including prints, books, and drawings, accompany the two self-portraits, which have not been exhibited together since the early eighteenth century.

Image: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Self-Portrait, ca. 1650−55, oil on canvas, 42 1/8 x 30 1/2 inches. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II, 2014. Copyright © The Frick Collection.

“Wiener Werkstätte 1903–1932: The Luxury of Beauty”

through January 29, 2018

Although decorative objects by Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) designers are part of the Neue Galerie’s permanent collection, the jewel box museum has never before presented a large-scale exhibition of this early twentieth century collective’s elegant, stylized work. The current show includes some two hundred objects—from furniture, ceramics, and metalwork to drawings, graphic design, and wallpaper—by more than a dozen workshop member/artists, including co-founders Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser.

Image: Dagobert Peche (1887-1923), bird-shaped candy box, 1920, silver; coral. Execution: Wiener Werkstätte. Neue Galerie New York

“Judith Bernstein: Cabinet of Horrors”

through January 21, 2018

If only Judith Bernstein’s exhibition title merely evoked the sort of fun old-timey carnival sideshow it hints at rather than accurately describing a current political reality—the staff of ghoulish characters that Donald Trump has appointed as his official advisers. Bernstein’s show presents new large-scale drawings and paintings on paper with text elements that turn Trump’s derogatory language against its speaker, as well as five drawings from 1995—centering on the words “liberty,” “justice,” “equality,” “evil,” and “fear”—that seem to question shifting American values. As the show’s title reminds us, Bernstein, known for her crude images of dicks, can be something of a portraitist.

Image: Judith Bernstein, Seal of Disbelief, 2017, mixed media on paper, 96 x 96 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

“Cathy Wilkes”

through March 11, 2018

Cathy Wilkes renders infants, mothers, and grannies in papier-mâché and drapes them in found textiles. Arranged in domestic scenes stocked with old toys, towels, and clotheslines, her uncanny characters transmute the humdrum tasks of caretaking into mysterious rituals. Born in Belfast in 1966, Wilkes trained at the Glasgow School of Art and began exhibiting in the 1990s with peers like Susan Philipsz, Richard Wright, and Martin Boyce, though her mannikin-filled tableaux are unlike anything else from that milieu. The solo exhibition at MoMA PS1—her first institutional outing in New York—is organized in conjunction with the Maria Lassnig Prize, of which Wilkes is the first recipient.

Image: Cathy Wilkes. Untitled, 2012. Gift of the Speyer Family Foundation and Mrs. Saidie A. May (by exchange). Copyright © 2017 Cathy Wilkes.

“François Morellet”

through June 30, 2018

French artist François Morellet (1926–2016) was an important figure in the development of postwar abstract art, pioneering the use of nontraditional materials such as neon lights, adhesive tape, and metal rods. This two-venue survey comprises a large number of the artist’s early geometric paintings, as well as examples of his systematically patterned neon works. Trames 3°-87°-93°-183° (1971/2017), a red-and-blue grid that Morellet originally painted on the exterior walls of a building in Paris, is re-created on the facade of Dia’s six-story building in Chelsea.

Image: François Morellet, No End Neon, 1990/2017. Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York. Copyright © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York.

“Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983”

though April 1, 2018

This exhibition commemorates the eponymous basement-level nightspot in a Polish church on St. Marks Place, once a hub of creative ferment in downtown New York. Club 57’s original performance curator, Ann Magnuson, serves as guest organizer along with MoMA staff curators Ron Magliozzi and Sophie Cavoulacos. Featuring performance documentation and a robust program of artist-made films, the show also includes paintings, prints, zines, and ephemera.

Image: Keith Haring, Acts of Live Art at Club 57, 1980. Photograph by Joseph Szkodzinski. Courtesy of the artist. 

“Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.”

Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, May 11—September 3, 2018; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, November 20, 2018—February 24, 2019

Huang Yong Ping’s 1993 installation Theater of the World—an octagonal enclosure holding hundreds of battling reptiles and insects—provided the subtitle for this exhibition, though the work was removed from the show before it opened after protests by animal-rights activists. Covering the period between the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the global financial crisis in 2008 (or, in Chinese terms, between Tiananmen Square and the Beijing Olympics), the exhibition includes approximately 150 works by some seventy-five artists and collectives, among them Xu Bing, Big Tail Elephant Group, Cai Guo-Qiang, Cao Fei, Zhang Xiaogang, and the New Measurement Group. The survey eschews the “greatest hits” approach to closely examine the social and artistic forces that, sometimes wrenchingly, opened China to the contemporary world. A program of twenty documentary films accompanies the exhibition.

Image: Zhang Peili, 30 x 30, 1988, color video with sound, 32 minutes, 9 seconds. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

“Items: Is Fashion Modern?”

through January 28, 2018

In this ambitious undertaking, ” Museum of Modern Art curator Paola Antonelli portrays the historical roots and potential futures of garments and accessories that have had a significant impact on Western dress since the early twentieth century. Picking up ideas explored in the museum’s only previous exhibition to focus on fashion (“Are Clothes Modern?,” 1944–45), she identifies more than a hundred such influential items—ranging from Levi’s 501s to the keffiyeh, from the bikini to the dashiki—and represents them in three forms: archetypes (or historical precedents), stereotypes (the modern versions), and prototypes (new commissions that envision prospective incarnations).

Image: Repetto Red Ballet Flats. 2010. Image Copyright © 2017 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada. Photo by Tanya Higgins and Fiona Rutka.

“Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon”

through January 21, 2018

Exhibitions that challenge conventional notions of gender have been fundamental to the New Museum’s program since the institution’s founding forty years ago. In the uncompromising tradition of trenchant shows such as “Difference” (1984–85) and “Bad Girls” (1994), “Trigger” examines the tension between fluid definitions of gender in contemporary culture and deeply rooted power structures defined by race and class. Organized by a team led by Johanna Burton, the museum’s director of education and public engagement, the show features films, paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances by some forty artists, including stalwarts like Nayland Blake and Vaginal Davis as well as younger figures such as Tschabalala Self and Sable Elyse Smith.

Image: Justin Vivian Bond, My Barbie Coloring Book, 2014, watercolor on archival paper, 14 1/2 × 11 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

“Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980”

through January 14, 2018

Beneath the banal facade of post–World War II life was an undercurrent of madness and delirium that artists throughout Europe, Latin America, and the United States tapped for inspiration. That’s the thesis of this survey of more than a hundred works by sixty-two artists. Yayoi Kusama’s search for the infinite, Robert Smithson’s fascination with entropy, and Ana Mendieta’s revitalization of ritual are presented as manifestations of a shared artistic belief that irrationality could offer a sane response to uncertain political and social contexts.

Image: Howardena Pindell, Memory Test: Free, White & Plastic (#114), 1979–80, cut and pasted and painted punched paper, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, ink, thread, nails, mat board, sprayed adhesive, and plastic on cardboard, 20 7/8 × 20 7/8 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1980. Copyright © Howardena Pindell. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art; photo by Hyla Skopitz.

VOICES

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


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

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.

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.”

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.

MUSEUM CALENDAR

Reflections—Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites

at National Gallery
October 2, 2017–April 2, 2018

Alberto Savinio

at Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA)
October 6, 2017–June 23, 2018

Scenes from the Collection (650 works from antiquities to contemporary art highlighting the collection)

Fall 2017

The Roots of “The Dinner Party”

October 20, 2017–April 1, 2018

Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983

October 31, 2017–April 1, 2018

In Practice (group exhibition culled from open call for proposals)

January 1, 2018–March 1, 2018

The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

January 9, 2017–March 31, 2018

Towards Catastrophe: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s

February 22, 2018–May 28, 2018

REVIEW ARCHIVE

February 23-April 8, 2017
by Elizabeth Buhe

Carmen Neely titled the eight paintings in her first New York solo show after phrases she had recently heard (“Just gotta caress it a little,” “Don’t just hope it!,” “A good fortune can ruin your life”), often in her own conversations.