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.

Lygia Clark, The Inside Is the Outside, 1963, stainless steel, 16 x 17 1/2 x 14 3/4".

“Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988”

Through August 24
Curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas and Connie Butler

Now regarded as one of the postwar era’s most important artists, Lygia Clark produced a generative body of abstract painting in the 1950s, reinvented sculpture with her participatory objects of the ’60s, and later devised an altogether unique mode of ritualistic, collective quasi therapy. This long-overdue retrospective, the largest such presentation of Clark’s work in North America to date, will encompass some three hundred objects drawn from the Brazilian artist’s four-decade career. The crucial question will be how MoMA treats the legendary “Bichos” (Critters), 1960–66, and “Trepantes” (Climbers), 1965, series of sculptures that the artist understood as living things, activated only through direct physical interaction with the viewer. The catalogue includes essays by Sergio Bessa, Christine Macel, and Briony Fer, among many others, and a major suite of previously untranslated writings by the artist.

Daniel Quiles

Benedetta, Sintesi delle comunicazioni aeree (Synthesis of Aerial Communications), 1933–34, tempera and encaustic on canvas, 10' 7 1/2“ x 6' 6 3/8”. From “Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe.”

“Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe”

Through September 1
Curated by Vivien Greene

The Italian Futurist movement was launched in 1909 with its belligerent leader F. T. Marinetti’s proclamation “Art can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.” Given the fashionability of social inclusion in art today, Marinetti’s dictate is a bracing reminder of a darker, more radical tradition of artistic activism. The Guggenheim’s survey of the movement will not only be sweeping—with more than three hundred works that cross the boundaries of art, architecture, design, film, literature, sound, and performance—but will be the first of its kind in the US. The exhibition and scholarly catalogue will document how the Futurists aimed at “reconstructing the universe” through intermediality as well as mechanized warfare, tracing the “heroic” years leading up to World War I and the fascist period of the 1920s–40s, when artists pressed on with their formal innovations in defiance of the times’ rappel à l’ordre.

Anthony White

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