U.S. Museum Exhibitions

The following guide to museum shows currently on view is compiled from Artforum’s three-times-yearly exhibition preview. Subscribe now to begin a year of Artforum—the world’s leading magazine of contemporary art. You’ll get all three big preview issues, featuring Artforum’s comprehensive advance roundups of the shows to see each season around the globe.

Caio Reisewitz, Aspicuelta, 2012, ink-jet print, 15 3/4 x 13 1/8".

Caio Reisewitz

Through September 7
Curated by Christopher Phillips

The artist Hélio Oiticica once called Brazil “the country that simply doesn’t exist”—meaning, one presumes, that there was no single essence that could lend his nation a unified identity.In the decades since those words were written, Brazil has become increasingly fragmented, as social cohesion has been sundered by widening disparities in opportunity. The Brazilian photographer Caio Reisewitz foregrounds this reality in his American solo debut, presenting large-format photographs and photocollages he produced between 2003 and 2013. Demonstrating a preoccupation with the clash between Brazil’s past and present, the artist’s dense images of built landscapes are of particular urgency. Here we see a growth of camouflaged favelas nestled within a bucolic rain forest or modernist architecture negotiating its territory in a land with a rich colonial heritage. As the world turns toward the newly stadium-centric Brazil for this year’s World Cup, Reisewitz’s work offers a much-needed perspective on the many other Brazils that will not be in attendance.

Alfredo Brillembourg

Mel Bochner, Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch, 2010, oil and acrylic on canvas, 22 x 38".

“Mel Bochner: Strong Language”

Through September 21
Curated by Norman L. Kleeblatt

A good deal of attention has been paid in the past decade to the work of Mel Bochner, with exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and London’s Whitechapel Gallery, among other venues. Yet in New York, Bochner’s home for close to fifty years, the artist has, bizarrely, never received a museum survey. This welcome exhibition, though not the full-scale retrospective Bochner so richly deserves, will include more than seventy works—paintings, drawings, and prints from 1966 to the present—in which Bochner deploys lists of words, in many cases groups of synonyms extracted from Roget’s Thesaurus and reconfigured in columns and rows. The words become texts, always ironic, often dark. Yet with time, reading gives way to a scrutiny of pictorial concerns: problems of mark-making, facture, and color that, for all Bochner’s so-called Conceptualism, have almost always grounded his work.

Jeffrey Weiss

Quisqueya Henríquez, Familiar Things, 2012, acrylic paint on ink-jet print, 27 x 27". From “Beyond the Supersquare.”

“Beyond the Supersquare”

Through January 11 2015
Curated by Holly Block and María Inés Rodríguez

This exhibition—derived from a 2011 Bronx Museum symposium and accompanying volume of the same name—takes Lucio Costa’s idealized dwelling unit in Brasília, the superquadra, as a jumping-off point to explore the ways in which contemporary artists have addressed the contested legacy of Latin American and Caribbean architectural modernism. Twenty-plus artists contribute more than sixty works in diverse media—ranging from quasi-architectural interventions (Los Carpinteros) to incisive social critique (Daniela Ortiz and Alexander Apóstol) to poetic reflections on history and form (Quisqueya Henríquez and Ishmael Randall Weeks). These heterogeneous approaches promise to grapple not only with midcentury modernism’s effects on the built environment but with its abiding spectral presence as an emblem of utopia. Talks, screenings, and performances at an off-site pavilion designed by Canadian artist Terence Gower and Argentinean architect Galia Solomonoff will round out the show.

Daniel Quiles

Jaroslav Rössler, untitled, 1929, gelatin silver print, 11 5/8 x 9 1/4". From “Photo-Eye: Avant-Garde Photography in Europe.”

“Photo Eye: Avant-Garde Photography in Europe”

Through October 16
Curated by Anne Havinga

Bringing together some fifty images created between the mid-1920s and 1940 by both signal and marginalized figures such as Constantin Brancusi, Ilse Bing, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Jaroslav Rössler, and Lucia Moholy, curator Anne Havinga inherits the burden and potential of any exhibition devoted to photography from the interwar period, namely the challenge of tracking the medium through the realms of art, advertising, and journalism, as well as of encompassing the era’s diverse movements and eclectic caldron of styles. Havinga’s exhibition is sure to provide a complex picture of European avant-garde photography in search of its own essence and in hot pursuit of painting, cinema, and other validating modes of cultural production—in short, as an art form torn between the avant-garde and what the late Miriam Hansen called vernacular modernism.

Noam M. Elcott

“Jasper Johns: Picture Puzzles”

Through January 4 2015
Curated by Clifford Ackley and Patrick Murphy

Featuring just under two dozen works, the Museum of Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition will present a tightly focused look at five decades of Jasper Johns’s probing of the interplay of sign, process, and device.Highlighting the artist’s diverse and often elaborate efforts in printmaking, “Picture Puzzles”—assembled from private collections and the MFA’s own holdings—will also include a small sampling of drawings and sculptures and a copy of Foirades/Fizzles, the 1976 artists’ book Johns made in collaboration with Samuel Beckett. Spanning from Johns’s early gridded and layered numbers of the 1960s to the 2010 etching and aquatint Fragment of a Letter—based on an excerpt of a van Gogh missive and rendered in both stenciled type and American Sign Language pictographs—these puzzles compose a half century’s exploration of the complexities not just of image making but of representation itself.

Graham Bader

“Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful”

Through September 14
Curated by Matthew Witkovsky

Josef Koudelka is often called a “street photographer,” a designation that, in light of his variform lifetime production, suggests the limitations and, perhaps, the final exhaustion of the old categories of photographic criticism. The 162 photos in this show, which will include many “vintage” exhibition and work prints, range from 1958 through the present and are drawn primarily from Koudelka’s personal archive. The images encompass several examples of the Czech-born French photographer’s important early work documenting the Prague theater scene, Gypsy encampments, and the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Among the selections are pictures taken for projects that resulted in one or another of Koudelka’s many books, including Exiles (1988), The Black Triangle (1994), Chaos (1999),and the recently published Wall (2013), consisting of panoramic landscape photographs depicting the barrier separating Israelis from Palestinians.

Travels to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Nov. 11, 2014–Mar. 29, 2015; Fundación Mapfre, Madrid, Sept.–Nov. 2015.

Joel Snyder