Cao Fei’s immersive, funny, maddening, and queasy video installations may feel Surrealist, but understand: The artist doesn’t pull from dreams. Her approach to exploring a flowering of Chinese culture in the grips of twenty-first century metastatic capitalism feels nearly documentarian. Cao’s exhibition at MoMA PS1 is her first solo outing at a museum within the United States. It surely won’t be her last.
Imagine what Marcel Breuer’s dark, imposing edifice did to New Yorkers during its first incarnation as the Whitney Museum, when it opened to the public in 1966. One can feel the white gloves quake and starched collars moisten in the presence of this seductively forbidding structure. Taken in by the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the Whitney went Meatpacking, The Met Breuer, as it’s now officially dubbed, comes at us with several brilliant exhibitions, one of which is “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible,” a show that will explore “a subject critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished.”
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible
László Moholy-Nagy managed to make it through two world wars without his spirit being utterly crushed. A nearly utopian optimism pervades this designer/painter/teacher/photographer’s prodigious oeuvre, which we have the good fortune of experiencing in “Moholy-Nagy: Future Present,” the first major retrospective of this thinker and maker’s work within the United States in nearly half a century, beautifully realized by the Guggenheim’s Karole P. B. Vail, Danielle Toubrinet, and Ylinka Barotto.
László Moholy-Nagy Moholy-Nagy: Future Present
Paul Outerbridge’s darkly aristocratic style and cut-crystal eroticism has influenced legions, from Irving Penn and Guy Bourdin to Robert Mapplethorpe, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Joel-Peter Witkin. Outerbridge’s exhibition at Bruce Silverstein is the first of this depth to be staged in New York in more than thirty years.
Poetry is not merely aesthetic. It dictates, commands, perverts, altering the landscape of one’s imagination. It’s clear how poetry’s functioned as the—ahem—seedbed of Vito Acconci’s multifarious oeuvre, warping his body and the spaces it’s occupied into strange and revelatory configurations. “Vito Acconci: Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway?), 1976,”—organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Margaret Aldredge, Acconci, and his wife, Maria Acconci—is a major exhibition that covers the early days of this iconic artist’s thinking and making, via documentary materials, videos, and films. It is also one of the events scheduled to coincide with MoMA PS1’s fortieth anniversary.
Vito Acconci Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway?), 1976
Simone Leigh’s new exhibition, “The Waiting Room,” produced during her residency at the New Museum, will focus on the kind of care—emotional, intellectual, medical—that women of color rarely receive in a patriarchal, racist society. This current undertaking is an extension of the artist’s 2014 project with Creative Time, Free People’s Medical Clinic, which provided various workshops and treatments, gratis, in the former Bed-Stuy home of the first black OB/GYN in the state of New York, Dr. Josephine English.
Simone Leigh The Waiting Room
Ken Nordine’s word-jazzy “Colors” of 1966 would make the perfect sound track for this scintillating exhibition of Stuart Davis’s crackerjack, hi-fi Pop-before-Pop paintings. About a hundred of this American abstractionist’s works—from the early 1920s to Davis’s very last canvas, left on the artist’s easel when he died in 1964—are on display for your edification and electrification.
Stuart Davis In Full Swing
Blackness, the body, violence, love—Michael Richards was a subtle activist who believed in art as a transforming force, and he never dared to separate poetry from politics. “Michael Richards: Winged,” curated by Alex Fialho and Melissa Levin, offers up sculptures, drawings, and various ephemera, most of which haven’t been seen since the artist’s untimely death in the September 11, 2001, attacks. How lucky we are to revisit such an exceptional light at this dark hour in time.
Michael Richards Winged
Bruce Conner’s uncommon touch—or, more aptly, metaphysical grace—could even make the apocalypse look ravishing. This exhibition is the first full-dress retrospective of Connor’s work—organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and cocurated by Stuart Comer, Laura Hoptman, Rudolf Frieling, Gary Garrels, and Rachel Federman—and covers fifty years of this cultural bricoleur’s glorious output via painting, drawing, film, photography, and so much more.
Bruce Conner It's All True
Cornelia Parker’s sorta/sorta not “dollhouse,” a re-creation, at two-thirds scale, of Norman Bates's house in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), is too weird for real children, but perfect for toy children—especially the dead-eyed, Victorian kids made by haute doll manufacturer Jumeau, which were favored by New York’s neurasthenic copper heiress Huguette Clark, who died, in 2011, surrounded by them. Clark’s haunted life, and so much more, comes racing to mind while witnessing Parker’s Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), 2016, on the Met’s Fifth Avenue rooftop. It also underlines, quite explicitly, that Parker is a horror auteur sans précédent.
Cornelia Parker Transitional Object (Psycho Barn)
The marvelous Antonio Lopez, with his creative partner/boyfriend Juan Ramos, knocked the pasty-white starch out of American fashion illustration, then injected it with a glittering cocktail of Puerto Rican dandyism, Warholian sex, disco sultriness, and—duh—top-tier Roman candle–style queerness. From Paris to New York and back again, arm in arm with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Tina Chow, Grace Jones, and Gianni Versace, they created a soiree that, still, few of us are cool enough to enter.
Antonio Lopez Future Funk Fashion
The burden of viewing life the way Diane Arbus saw it seems unbearable. Getting that close to humanity—well beyond “warts-and-all”—is monstrous. “diane arbus: in the beginning” presents more than one hundred of this profound artist’s photographs—more than two-thirds of which have never been seen before—from 1956–62, a period when she was working away from her husband, actor, and commercial photographer, Allan Arbus, and clarifying her own sublime, phantasmal vision.
Diane Arbus In The Beginning
Oh but to be a Royal Meissen porcelain, handled with the most tender of care and on lofty display, in Henry Clay Frick’s magnificently appointed mansion. We are invited to inhabit the interior lives of these stately objects in “Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection,” which commingles twelve of Shechet’s perverse Meissen-inspired works (pieces the artist made during residencies at the house’s factory in Germany a few years ago) with approximately 140 originals, selected and organized by the artist herself. This is the most appropriate way to enter the summer—in splendor.
Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection
Mining a rich art-historical period when artists found new ways to engage with reality and make work beyond the studio setting, this survey includes, among others, Keith Arnatt, Hamish Fulton, Mary Kelly, John Latham, Richard Long, David Tremlett, and Stephen Willats. Much of the work on view is politically engaged, dealing with a wide range of contemporary issues from feminism to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Conceptual Art in Britain: 1964–1979
Icelandic raconteur and dandy Ragnar Kjartansson’s first solo exhibition in the UK includes live performances, music, film, painting, sculpture, and drawing. Accompanying the dramatic works presented in the galleries, a new piece, Second Movement, 2016—a long embrace between two women in Edwardian clothing—will be performed on a rowboat on the Barbican’s lakeside.
This survey frames a new generation of Latin American artists (born after 1968) within the context of well-known older artists from the southern hemisphere, such as Luis Camnitzer, Alfredo Jaar, and Gabriel Orozco. Across a wide variety of media and subject matter, the young artists address interrelated issues including colonialism, corruption, ecology, and technology.
Alfredo Jaar, Amalia Pica, Mariana Castillo Deball, Wilfredo Prieto Under The Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today
The Lebanese-born artist’s first institutional show in the UK is a survey of paintings, drawings, poetry, films, and tapestries made between the 1960s and today. While her graphic works waltz between abstraction and figuration, Adnan’s writings take a firm stance on international politics and more personal struggles.
Etel Adnan The Weight of the World
Bringing his colorful creativity to the role of curator, fashion designer Duro Olowu has selected a diverse group of works that relate to his personal interest in textiles. What’s on view inhabits a vast range, from pieces by well-known artists (Alighiero Boetti, Louise Bourgeois, and Fernand Léger, to name just a few) to anonymous nineteenth-century textiles, describing a love of patterns and fashion that transcends materials, cultural references, time, and geography.
Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu
For more than thirty years, Raphael Albert documented hundreds of dance, music, and community events. The focus of the first major show dedicated to Albert—a tireless and bighearted chronicler of “Black Is Beautiful”—are his photographs of black beauty pageants in West London from the 1960s through the 1980s.
RAPHAEL ALBERT: MISS BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL
This comprehensive presentation of Eggleston’s portraits spans fifty years of the artist’s output. In addition to portraits of blues musician Fred McDowell in his casket and actor/director Dennis Hopper driving in the outback, the exhibition includes never-before-seen black-and-white prints from the 1960s that show the artist’s unromanticized view of daily life in America.
William Eggleston Portraits
Coinciding with Bacher’s solo show at 356 S. Mission Rd. in Los Angeles, which runs through July 31, this exhibition brings together works in various media all made between 1973 and 2016. Highlights from the predominantly dark-hued selection include two kinky black leather suspensions that hang from the ceiling like chandeliers and Wham, 2016, a serpentine installation of baseball caps.
Lutz Bacher Divine Transportation
First exhibited in 1971, Stella’s “Polish Village” series introduced technical and material innovations that the artist went on to feature throughout his career-long investigation of the relationship between painting, sculpture, and architecture. The large wall reliefs—whose imagery is based on photographs and drawings of synagogues in Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka’s book Wooden Synagogues (1959)—maintain the form of Stella’s famous shaped canvases but are three-dimensional collages of felt, paint, canvas, wood, and cardboard. Read Stella’s recent 500 Words on this work here.
The ninth edition of the Berlin Biennale, curated by the New York–based collective DIS, will be infiltrating the city with art via unexpected venues and ventures, so if you happen to be at a juice bar in the hipper quarters of town this summer, be on your guard that it just might be Débora Delmar’s biennial project. Other sites being taken over this season are the politically loaded Pariser Platz—home to international corporations Lockheed Martin, Allianz Stiftungsforum, and DZ Bank, among others—and the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), a business school that once housed the state council of East Berlin. Consider BB9 this season’s starter pack for the international jet set.
The subjects of Thomas Struth's large-format photographs range from industrial plants and research laboratories to mundane architecture and amusement parks. Made between 2005 and 2016, the thirty-seven works on view here show how photography combines reality, memory, and experience.
Thomas Struth Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics
Featuring more than three hundred works, the American artist’s largest solo exhibition to date spans five decades and promises both breadth and depth via his signature floor sculptures made with industrial building materials, two hundred poems, and a series of rarely seen assemblages known as the “Dada Forgeries.” See the artist himself discuss his life and work in our video here.
Carl Andre Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010
Invalidenstraße 50-51 / +4930266424242 / smb.museum/
Tue - Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat - Sun 11am to 6pm, Thu 10am to 8pm
The second part of the Polish-born, London-based artist’s back-to-back exhibitions at the Schinkel Pavillon describes intimate connections and troubling overlaps between culture and technology. Suggesting the inevitability of a posthuman state, the show includes the android creation To the Son of the Man Who Ate the Scroll, 2016, a talking bearded robot modeled after the artist's boyfriend.
Time to feel yourself, LA. The third edition of this intimately scaled gathering of artists—gently subtitled “A, The, Though, Only” (itself a work by poet Aram Saroyan)—brings together twenty-six artists to tempt the city’s aesthetes from their Eastside DIY spaces and downtown lofts. Come see painters like Silke Otto-Knapp and Rebecca Morris and videos from Martine Syms and Fred Lonidier’s public-access show Labor Link TV. Also featuring bicoastal, nonbinary fashion coven Eckhaus Latta and Guthrie Lonergan’s artist-statement-spouting M&M pop-up ads, this exhibition, organized by Aram Moshayedi and Hamza Walker, has something to offer the whole contemporary-art family.
Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only
“Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016,” the debut exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s new LA space, crucially augmented by former LA MoCA chief curator Paul Schimmel who co-curated this show with art historian Jenni Sorkin, promises to K.O. any dolt still dense enough to believe women weren’t at the core of any revolution, modernist or otherwise. With almost one hundred works made by thirty-four artists over the past seventy years, the show focuses on postwar sculpture, including such luminaries as Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Heidi Bucher, Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, Hannah Wilke, Jackie Winsor, Isa Genzken, Senga Nengudi, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Can you even?
Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016
After making a serious splash at the 2015 Venice Biennale’s German Pavilion, here comes the US premiere of Hito Steyerl’s video installation Factory of the Sun. Poor, rich, middle-class images—they all mix it up in a combination too critical to merely entertain and too down to simply be taken as a lecture from one of the sharpest eyes on our contemporary aesthetics, politics, and anything else that affects the relative speed of our swipe across life.
Hito Steyerl Factory of the Sun
250 South Grand Avenue / +12136266222 / moca.org
Mon 11am to 5pm, Thu 11am to 8pm, Fri 11am to 5pm, Sat - Sun 11am to 6pm
It’s shocking that Cindy Sherman’s 2012 retrospective didn’t make a stop in Los Angeles. Is there another place with as great a tradition of unhinged role-playing/bleeding across signifiers while making sure your lipstick’s just so? Let’s give a warm welcome to the first major LA museum presentation of her slippery disguises in nearly twenty years.
Cindy Sherman Imitation of Life
Before his untimely death last year, artist and Underground Museum cofounder Noah Davis conceived a series of exhibitions of works from MoCA’s collection, but installed here, west of the trending downtown area and away from the city’s usual gallery districts. This show, titled “Non-Fiction,” is the second such collaboration between the two institutions, redistributing works by Kara Walker, Henry Taylor, Theaster Gates, Robert Gober, David Hammons, and Deana Lawson, among others, back into the city to address the systemic violence perpetrated on black people.
Galerie Thomas Bernard - Cortex Athletico celebrates its tenth anniversary with a vibrant multigenerational visual dialogue. Featuring lots of bright, summery colors, this group show reveals unexpected affinities between works by emerging and historic artists, such as Kevin Rouillard’s “infra-ordinary” presentations of everyday detritus and Pierre Clerk’s geometric abstractions.
Group show The Future is the Future
Drawing heavily from its Arte Povera–rich permanent collection, the Centre Pompidou shows off its Fontanas, Penones, Manzonis, Pistolettos, and Burrises. But the exhibition, which focuses on the decade between 1964 and 1974, also broadens our understanding of the Italian art movement by including work by less celebrated but equally essential adherents such as Piero Gilardi and Mario Ceroli.
Un art pauvre
Rottenberg transforms the Palais de Tokyo’s basement into a funny and creepy fantasyland with a selection of recent works—some of which have been created specifically for this exhibition. Among the many absurd delights, NoNoseKnows, 2015, invents a grotesque backstory for the lucrative (and exploitative) pearl industry.
Tacita Dean’s JG, 2013, is titled after late author J. G. Ballard, with whom Dean enjoyed a long correspondence about Robert Smithson. The 35-mm film, which was acquired by the Musée d’Art Moderne in 2014, is an ode to Smithson’s masterpiece, Spiral Jetty, 1970, and is a tour de force of Dean’s “aperture gate masking” technique, which she developed for her monumental installation FILM at Tate’s Turbine Hall in 2011.
A seminal figure in Italian photography, Franco Vimercati made his first photographs in 1973 when he focused his camera on the inhabitants of the village where he took his summer holidays. These rarely shown works are on view along with better-known series from later in his career, including “Ciclo della zippier” (1983–92), photos of the same found-object (a tureen) taken over a period of nearly ten years.
Franco Vimercati Franco Vimercati
The inaugural show at this gallery’s Milan location (Galleria Fumagalli was founded in Bergamo in 1971) brings together four post–World War II artists whose works push abstraction to new limits. Revealing unexpected commonalities between Castellani, Mangold, Morris, and Noland, the exhibition compares these artists’ use of geometric forms, monochrome, and the surrounding environment.
Enrico Castellani, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, Kenneth Noland. A Personal View of Abstract Painting and Sculpture.
The Peruvian-born, Belgian-based artist’s first solo show in Italy explores quotidian cause-and-effect reactions. Encouraging a fresh perspective on the everyday, Lamas turns his attention to objects commonly used in ways that are surprisingly different from what they were designed to do.
Nicolàs Lamas The Structure of the Wild
Since 1923 the Triennale di Milano has been a showcase for modern design, including decorative arts, fashion, and architecture. Among the exhibitions this year, “Arts and Foods: Rituals since 1851” (April 9–November 1), curated by Germano Celant, provides a global overview of the connection between food-related aesthetics and rituals.
To create his ethereal “Nimbus” photographs, Berndnaut Smilde uses a powerful fog machine that forms delicate white clouds in improbable interior locations. In the age of Photoshop, Smilde’s photographs raise another set of questions about what is “real.”
Berndnaut Smilde Solo show
Juxtaposing work by two contemporary artists alongside ceramics by Lucio Fontana, this exhibition shows off certain contradictions of clay. Complementing Fontana’s Informel figures, Caroline Achaintre’s clay objects are simultaneously modern and primitive, while Ivan Seal’s gestural and ceramics-encrusted paintings hover between two and three dimensions.
Lucio Fontana | Caroline Achaintre | Ivan Seal A Conversation about Ceramics
In addition to the well-known sculpture that lends the show its title, this exhibition features other politically charged sculptures by Ed and Nancy Kienholz. Among them: The Bronze Pinball Machine with Woman Affixed Also, 1980, which presents the female body as pure entertainment, and 76 J.C.s Led the Big Charade, 1993–1994, one of the couple’s final installations, in which seventy-six wall-mounted crucifixes (made with baby doll parts and wagon chassis) take aim at institutionalized religion.
Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz KIENHOLZ: FIVE CAR STUD
Natural elements meet brutalist minimalism in “Cement Floor,” an exhibition featuring the work of Xiao Yu. The Beijing-based artist—whose work was included in the forty-ninth Venice Biennale curated by Harald Szeemann—has created a cube of concrete imprinted with a surrounding cage of bamboo poles, as if to underscore the forms of captivity enabled by the pressures of urban development and the tensile strength of organic materials alike.
Xiao Yu Cement Floor
A wide sampling of Andy Warhol’s signature 1960s “Screen Tests” as well as his Polaroids from the ’70s and ’80s make up the first show in China to look at the major role of mechanical reproduction in Warhol’s work. Also on view, his screenprinted wallpapers and fetching, iconic Silver Clouds guide viewers across the gap between indexicality and pure, tactile materiality.
Andy Warhol Contact