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.

Paul Strand, Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, 1931, platinum print, 5 7/8 × 4 5/8". © Estate of Paul Strand.

“Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography”

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART
PHILADELPHIA
Through January 4 2015
Curated by Peter Barberie and Amanda Bock

Not since the 1971 retrospective held at this very museum has a full-blown reevaluation of American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand been attempted. Now, drawing heavily on a trove of recently acquired prints and lantern slides, the Philadelphia Museum presents Strand not as a revanchist who retreated from modernism after making his radically abstract compositions of 1915–17, but rather as a humanist who believed in the inherent modernity of keen observation and straightforward presentation of the world as it exists. Accompanied by an extensive catalogue, this exhibition of some 250 photographs and three films spans Strand’s career, from his Pictorialist origins and brilliant experiments of the 1910s and ’20s through the extended portraits of places—from Mexico to Ghana—that occupied him from the ’30s through the ’60s. Travels to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, Mar. 7–May 17, 2015; Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, June 3–Aug. 30, 2015; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Mar. 19–July 3, 2016.

Malcolm Daniel

“David Lynch: The Unified Field”

THE PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS
PHILADELPHIA
Through January 11 2015
Curated by Robert Cozzolino

The world recognizes David Lynch as an American auteur, but his clairvoyant cinema emerged from—and was created alongside—an equally strange and singular art practice. This ambitious exhibition, Lynch’s first major museum show, comprises more than ninety paintings, photographs, and drawings from 1965 through the present, including previously unseen early work. Among the highlights are Six Men Getting Sick, a multimedia installation made Lynch made in 1967 while he was a student at PAFA, presented now for the first time since its creation, as well as a selection of short films the director shot in the late ’60s in Philadelphia, a city he once called “the biggest inspiration of my life.” Lynch’s artistic output resonates with his Hollywood films, archly evoking the mysterious in the familiar, the body in unlikely configuration with “organic phenomena,” and “the home” as a site triggering flashbacks and nightmares.

Thomas Devaney

Margarita Cabrera, Vocho (Yellow), 2004, vinyl, batting, thread, car parts, 5 × 6 × 13'. From “Pop Departures.”

“Pop Departures”

SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
SEATTLE
Through January 11 2015
Curated by Catharina Manchanda

Mapping the impact of Pop art over the past fifty years, the Seattle Art Museum zeros in on two key moments in which artists have updated Pop proper’s concerns: the 1980s and the past decade. The exhibition (offering some hundred works dating from 1961 to 2014) will cover familiar territory at the outset, charting distances between landmarks such as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, but it will quickly head into more adventurous terrain. Vocho (Yellow), 2004, Margarita Cabrera’s stitched rendition of the once-ubiquitous Volkswagen Bug—for which the artist refashioned in vinyl those parts made in Mexico—weds the logic of Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures to global politics, while works by Josephine Meckseper and Rachel Harrison explore the parataxis of product display and Amie Siegel’s montage of YouTube Sinatra wannabes singing “My Way” (My Way 2, 2009)pursues the echo of Warhol’s celebrity culture to its final, flattest frontier.

Sarah K. Rich

David Hammons, Time Out (Basketball Drawing) (detail), 2004/2010, graphite on paper with alarm clock, 44 x 28 3/4 x 6".

Yves Klein/David Hammons

ASPEN ART MUSEUM
ASPEN, CO
Through November 30
Curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson

Nouveau Réaliste Yves Klein was notorious in the 1960s for using women as “human paintbrushes,” while American Conceptualist David Hammons gained renown a decade later for indexical drawings made using his own greased-up body. Though the two artists’ practices emerged from vastly different contexts and conversations, this exhibition—one of several inaugurating the AAM’s new downtown venue—contends that an irreverent attitude toward artmaking connects Klein and Hammons in intriguing ways. Three themes, “Ritual,” “Process,” and “Transformation,” promise to link the show’s forty-nine works on more than just formal grounds, hopefully allowing ephemeral actions like Klein’s Zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility, 1962—in which a notional artwork was transferred to its collector via a ceremonial toss of gold into the Seine—and Hammons’s sidewalk sale of melting snowballs (Bliz-aard Ball Sale, 1983) to be productively regarded together. A catalogue with contributions by Jacobson, Philippe Vergne, and Klaus Ottmann accompanies the show.

Elizabeth Mangini

“Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010”

DIA:BEACON
BEACON, NY
Through March 2 2015
Curated by Yasmil Raymond and Philippe Vergne

In Carl Andre’s own telling, his sculpture has occupied three distinct phases: “sculpture as form” (the carved beams of 1958–59), “sculpture as structure” (the stacked constructions of 1959–65), and “sculpture as place” (the horizontal arrangements of bricks and metal plates of 1966–2010 for which he is best known). This long-awaited retrospective, the artist’s first in the US in more than thirty years, aims to trace the contours of these developments with some fifty works produced between the late 1950s and early 2000s. Yet the show promises much more: Accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, it will feature roughly 165 of Andre’s concrete poems, as well as a selection of his little-known “Dada Forgeries”—“minor” pun-infused readymades largely inspired by Duchamp, an artist Andre once declared himself against.

Travels to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, May 7–Oct. 12, 2015; Hamburger Bahnhof—Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, May 7–Sept. 25, 2016; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Oct. 20, 2016–Feb. 12, 2017.

James Meyer

“Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns”

SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
SCOTTSDALE, AZ
Through January 11 2015
Curated by Claire C. Carter

The Donald Rumsfeld Scale of epistemology, established post-9/11, famously stretches from “known knowns” to “unknown unknowns.” “Known unknowns,” however, occupy the median zone of well-founded anxiety brought on not by being “in possession of all the facts”—the condition of paranoia as wryly defined by William S. Burroughs—but by having enough of them to extrapolate that grim details have yet to emerge about, say, “black ops,” human-rights violations, illegal extradition, and human trafficking. Here, thirteen artists and collaboratives (including Taryn Simon, Harun Farocki, Kerry Tribe, Jenny Holzer, and Trevor Paglen), exploiting the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, and “insider connections,” respond to the US government’s cloud of unknowing via strategies ranging from evidence-driven truth-telling to critical modes that mirror the state’s artfully constructed ambiguities. Travels to the San Jose Museum of Art, CA, Sept.–Dec. 2015.

Martin Herbert