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.

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

“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

Spread from Andy Warhol’s A Gold Book, 1957, offset lithographic prints and hand coloring on paper, 14 1/2 × 23". © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

“Warhol by the Book”

WILLIAMS COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART (WCMA)
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA
Through August 16
Curated by Matt Wrbican

Given the attention afforded every aspect of Andy Warhol’s diverse production and legacy, it is surprising that his engagement with books has taken so long to come to the fore. Like last year’s anthology Reading Andy Warhol: Author Illustrator Publisher, “Warhol by the Book” seeks to rectify this situation, bringing together some four hundred objects associated with more than eighty different books, from faux-naive self-published pre-Pop titles to the fascinatingly dark Andy Warhol’s Index (Book) of 1967, which encapsulates the look and ethos of the Silver Factory at its height. Highlights include the lesser-known 1968 print portfolio Flash—November 22, 1963, the prepublication designer’s dummy and mock-up for the Index (Book), and a diminutive but intriguing Marilyn Monroe Book Maquette, ca. 1968. With no planned catalogue, you will have to get yourself to Williamstown to see these books in person. Travels to the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Oct. 9, 2015– Jan. 10, 2016.

Branden W. Joseph

“Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s”

MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM
MONTCLAIR, NJ
Through May 17
Curated by Alexandra Schwartz

The Guggenheim and the New Museum in New York have both recently examined the art of the 1990s, and “Come as You Are” promises to be a worthwhile expansion of the discussion. Attempting an overview of art production between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11—including some sixty works (paintings, sculptures, prints, videos, and digital art) by forty-five artists ranging from Elizabeth Peyton to Julie Mehretu, Rirkrit Tiravanija to Felix Gonzalez-Torres—the Montclair Art Museum survey will cover all the ’90s basics, such as globalization, digital culture, and contemporary art’s ongoing (and inevitable, necessary) engagement with popular culture. “Come as You Are” is, after all, the title of one of Nirvana’s most famous songs. The comprehensive catalogue includes essays by Huey Copeland, Joan Kee, and others. Travels to the Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA, June 12–Sept. 20; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Oct. 17, 2015–Jan. 31, 2016; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Feb. 16–May 15, 2016.

David Rimanelli