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EDITORS' PICKS

“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
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. 

VOICES

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


Artist and poet Jibade-Khalil Huffman on two NY shows he’d like to spend more time with:

“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

“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

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

MUSEUM CALENDAR

Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical

July 1, 2017–January 10, 2018

Sonic Arcade: Making Sound Material (featuring Elasticbrand (Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright), Louise Foo & Martha Skou, and others

August 10, 2017–January 15, 2018

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

September 1, 2017–January 1, 2018

WAR AND PIECED: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics

September 6, 2017–December 31, 2017

Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson

September 7, 2017–December 9, 2017

Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo

September 8, 2017–January 7, 2018

After Darkness Comes the Light: Art in the Wake of History

September 8, 2017–January 21, 2018

Modigliani Unmasked

September 15, 2017–February 4, 2018

Julia Weist: 17.(SEPT) [By Weist_Siré Records]™

September 17, 2017–February 18, 2018

Sable Elyse Smith: Ordinary Violence

September 17, 2017–February 18, 2018

Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake

September 17, 2017–February 18, 2018

Never Built New York (plans, drawings, models for the city that were never realized)

September 17, 2017–February 18, 2018

Murillo: The Self-Portraits

at Frick Collection
September 20, 2017–February 4, 2018

Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt

September 29, 2017–January 21, 2018

Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs

October 1, 2017–January 1, 2018

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

Art & China after 1989: Theater of the World

October 6, 2017–January 7, 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

Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting

October 22, 2017–February 1, 2018

Cathy Wilkes

October 22, 2017–February 1, 2018

Wiener Werkstätte 1903–1932: The Luxury of Beauty

October 26, 2017–January 29, 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.