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.

Tala Madani, The Gift, 2015, oil on linen, 20 × 17 1/8".

“Tala Madani: First Light”

CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM ST. LOUIS
SAINT LOUIS
Through April 3
Curated by Kelly Shindler and Henriette Huldisch

Cock-dragging baby-men leer with amusing hubris and dazed melancholy in the paintings and stop-motion animations of Tala Madani. In this exhibition of works from the past two years, the Tehran-born, Los Angeles–based artist’s cast of rotund fellows prance and lactate in a sinister, metaphysical darkness cut sparely with light. A grim, corporeal humor bubbles through while Madani’s (mostly) bald subjects suffer odd torments; in one oil painting, The X, 2015, a figure clad in a black thong grins submissively as disembodied hands stretch his limbs outward. Opening at cam with nine paintings and an animation, the exhibition will expand when it travels to the co-organizing MIT List Visual Arts Center, gaining eight additional paintings from Madani’s series “Smiley Has No Nose,” 2015, and “Abstract Pussy,” 2013–, and a second animated video. Travels to the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, May 20–July 17.

Andrew Berardini

Andrea Büttner

WALKER ART CENTER
MINNEAPOLIS
Through April 10
Curated by Fionn Mead

Weakness is Andrea Büttner’s strength. For a decade, the Stuttgart-born artist has coaxed often-minor media—inexpert video, casual photography, glass painting, wallpaper, even low-slung planters of live moss—into speaking of humility, poverty, shame, and (the refusal of) judgment. Whether woodcut-printing the text piece I want to let the work fall down, 2005; inviting cloistered Carmelite nuns to film their homespun creative activity (Little Works, 2007); illustrating a 2014 edition of Kant’s Critique of Judgment with sublunary, seemingly chance-determined images that cause adjudication to misfire; or repeatedly confessing her artistic influences, Büttner skews from ego. The upshots, her first US solo exhibition will no doubt demonstrate, are numerous, from a catechization of art’s liaison with thrusting neoliberalism to a call for a reconsideration of belief—and its corollary, meekness—that feels quietly radical.

Martin Herbert

Yuri Ancarani, Il capo (The Boss), 2010, 35 mm transferred to HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes. From the series “La malattia del ferro (The Malady of Iron),” 2010–12. From “Architecture of Life.”

“Architecture of Life”

BERKELEY ART MUSEUM AND PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE (BAMPFA)
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA
Through May 29
Curated by Lawrence Rinder

BAM/PFA celebrates the opening of its new building by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with this epic presentation of more than 250 artifacts that sit at the nexus of art, architecture, and life itself. Encompassing a heterogeneous array of objects drawn from the history of music, science, craft, religion, and experimental design, among other cultural practices, the show and its multiauthored catalogue speak to architecture’s varied connections to “forms of life.” Viewed in the context of DS+R’s remarkable structure, for which the New York–based firm sliced through an old printing plant and fused it to a dramatically foreign form, the exhibition promises to remind us that architecture not only operates to regulate spaces, bodies, and psyches in the service of cultural norms but, like art—and, one hopes, this show—can open up new, critical prospects for encountering the contemporary milieu.

Felicity Scott

“Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia”

HARVARD ART MUSEUMS
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
Through September 18
Curated by Stephen Gilchrist

"Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia,” held at the Asia Society in New York in 1988, was a key exhibition in demonstrating that Aboriginal art was not “primitive” but modern. This show goes one step further in arguing that Aboriginal art is not modern but contemporary. “Everywhen,” a neologism adopted from anthropologist William Stanner, is a way of taking the Dreaming—the cultural and spiritual worldview of Aborigines—out of the past and placing it in the present. The show includes Pintupi artists such as Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, the Anmatyerr Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Sydney photographer Christian Thompson, Brisbane Conceptualist Vernon Ah Kee, and other native Australians. If New Yorker David Smith once made a work called Australia in response to Aboriginal art, and Texan Forrest Bess actually wanted to become an Aborigine, what Gilchrist seeks to prove is that Aboriginal art is not just “everywhen” but belongs everywhere.

Rex Butler

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, I Refuse to Be Invisible, 2010, ink, charcoal, acrylic, and transfers on paper, 120 × 84".

“Njideka Akunyili Crosby: I Refuse to be Invisible”

NORTON MUSEUM OF ART
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
Through April 24
Curated by Cheryl Brutvan

For many, the facts of Nigerian-born, US-based Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s peripatetic life will feel as close to home as the intimate domestic tableaux she depicts in her art. Blending painting, collage, and photo transfers of imagery from family albums, Nigerian lifestyle magazines, and the Internet, Crosby portrays people—often members of her family—sitting on beds and on couches, in living rooms and around dining tables, eating and drinking, touching and interacting. The synthesis of cultures and traditions in these scenes captures a coolly sophisticated diasporic existence that might be described as Afropolitan, to use a term popularized in a 2005 essay by Taiye Selasi that is reprinted in this exhibition’s catalogue. The show, the first institutional survey of Crosby’s work in the US, will include fifteen paintings and works on paper completed over the past five years.

Rujeko Hockley