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.

“Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty”

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON
HOUSTON
Through August 2
Curated by Bill Arning and Elissa Auther

True to the maxim “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” this exhibition will be the most extensive survey to date by New York fixture Marilyn Minter. Gathering more than two dozen paintings made since 1976, the show delves deep into Minter’s oeuvre, past her iconic recent canvases of dolled-up orifices to more abstracted appropriations of vintage photographs and enamels of eroticized food. In the decade since Minter’s work was beamed into pop consciousness via prominent placement in the trashy, coyly satiric soap Gossip Girl, she has continued to ply her seductive, glossy imagery. Three videos and the artist’s earliest photographic series—featuring Minter’s pill-plagued but still-glamorous mother before a mirror—lend context and gravitas to the stuff she’s made so wretchedly gorgeous. Travels to MCA Denver, Sept. 18, 2015–Jan. 31, 2016; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, Apr. 1–July 10, 2016; Brooklyn Museum, 2016.

Kevin McGarry

Sadamasa Motonaga, Work, 1962, oil and synthetic resin on canvas, 67 3/4 × 90 1/4". From “Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga.” © Estate of Motonaga Sadamasa.

“Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga”

DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART
DALLAS
Through July 19
Curated by Gabriel Ritter and Koichi Kawasaki

The past few years have seen the Gutai group catapult to the forefront of the ever-expanding history of postwar art. But the specificities of its members’ respective practices remain undetermined, a situation this two-person exhibition, co-organized with the Japan Foundation, Tokyo, seeks to remedy in part. For both Shiraga and Motonaga, the element of chance was central. Best known for painting exuberantly with his feet, Shiraga regarded abstraction as a form of live theater. Motonaga poured vividly hued paints, which pooled or ran in currents across his canvases, thus capturing the unpredictability of fluids left to their own devices. Including nearly sixty paintings, drawings, photographs, films, sculptures, archival materials, and re-creations of installations that cover the full extent of the artists’ careers from the 1950s to the 2000s, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue seek to illuminate how both artists so gleefully crossed the boundaries of painting, performance, and documentation—all in the name of abstraction.

Joan Kee

Devo, University of Illinois, Chicago, October 16, 1981. From left: Jerry Casale, Bob Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh, Alan Myers. Photo: Paul Natkin.

“Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia"

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DENVER (MCA DENVER)
DENVER
Through May 1
Curated by Adam Lerner

Every band I have ever known has had at least one artist in its entourage; somebody has to make the posters and the album covers. For Devo, an absurdist punk-rock band formed in 1972 whose members were influenced by the aesthetics of Russian Futurism, just about everyone in the group was an artist—including Mark Mothersbaugh. The artist’s first retrospective shows us—with works dating from the 1960s to the present, including photocollages, kinetic musical sculptures, 30,000 underground-comics-style works on paper, and even a double-ended car—that Mothersbaugh is not only a great film composer (note his collaborations with Wes Anderson) but a polymath artist. A publication with contributions by Lerner, Anderson, and Shepard Fairey, among others, will further explore the artist’s life and his oeuvre, which ranges from mail art to the music of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Travels to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, June 21–Aug. 30, 2015; Cincinnati Art Museum and Contemporary Arts Center, Oct. 7, 2015–Jan. 5, 2016.

Josiah McElheny

Wanda Pimentel, Untitled—Série Envolvimento, 1967, acrylic on canvas, 45 3/4 × 35 1/8". From “International
Pop.”

“International Pop”

WALKER ART CENTER
MINNEAPOLIS
Through September 6
Curated by Darsie Alexander with Bartholomew Ryan

If a select few of Pop art’s past and present stars (think Sigmar Polke and Jeff Koons) recently took New York, the Walker Art Center’s upcoming exhibition—featuring some 140 works produced over the course of three decades on four continents—aims to widen our Pop horizons far beyond the usual names and locales. Alongside such household brands as Warhol and Rauschenberg, Polke will make an appearance, but so too will his (less recognized) fellow Capitalist Realists Konrad Lueg and Manfred Kuttner, here joined by Argentineans Marta Minujín and Edgardo Giménez, Brazilian Wanda Pimentel, and the Japanese-born Ushio Shinohara and Yayoi Kusama, among many others. Incorporating an extensive film and video program and showcasing works across media, the Walker exhibition and accompanying catalogue promise an unmatched opportunity to assess Pop’s global reach, and (it’s Pop, after all) to see some standout works by a few undisputed stars in the process. Travels to the Dallas Museum of Art, Oct. 11–Jan. 17, 2016; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 18–May 15, 2016.

Graham Bader

“Barbara Kasten: Stages”

ICA - INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, PHILADELPHIA
PHILADELPHIA
Through August 16
Curated by Alex Klein

A good survey exhibition is both thoughtful in its assessment of an artist’s contribution and timed to a moment in which the public is primed to consider it. “Barbara Kasten: Stages” promises to be both, as Kasten’s measured engagement with photographic, sculptural, and architectural ideas since the 1970s is an undeniable precedent and prompt for contemporary postdisciplinary art practices. Tracking the artist’s remarkable trajectory through Bauhausian pedagogy and fiber art in the ’60s, the California Light and Space movement in the ’70s, and postmodernism in the ’80s, and culminating with her stellar recent photographs and a site-specific video work, this exhibition animates and provides access to a protean four-decade-long practice. In the accompanying catalogue, the long-underrecognized artist remarks in conversation with artist Liz Deschenes—one of a generation of younger artists influenced by Kasten’s work—that she feels as if she has finally found her peers. A new round of conversations and exchanges is about to begin.

Charlotte Cotton

Cerith Wyn Evans, Things are conspicuous in their absence, 2012, neon, 7 1/2“ × 16' 1”. From “The Blue of Distance.”

“The Blue of Distance”

ASPEN ART MUSEUM
ASPEN, CO
Through June 28
Curated by Courtenay Finn

Blue, writer and historian Rebecca Solnit muses, is the “color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.” Indeed, the hue’s synonymy with absence, melancholy, and transcendence is perhaps epitomized by Derek Jarman’s final film, Blue (1993)—its saturated ultramarine projection echoing the filmmaker’s experience of going blind. Lifting its title and marrow from Solnit’s 2008 essay “The Blue of Distance,” this exhibition presents works by nine artists who engage this particular phenomenon of obscuration. From “Untitled (Blue Mirror), 1990, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s psychoanalytic gesture in the form of minimalist takeaway gazing-pool prints, to Untitled (Roman Note), 1970, Cy Twombly’s inscrutable demonstration in cyan wax crayon and oil of what remains inaccessible to language, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue, with a contribution from poet Anne Carson, seek to articulate what occupies the space between subjects and their objects of desire—that which we’ve deemed blue.

Annie Godfrey Larmon