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.

Sarah Oppenheimer, Rotation Study: S-281913, 2016, digital video, black-and-white, silent, 15 seconds.

“Sarah Oppenheimer: S-281913”

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
MIAMI
September 30 - April 30, 2017
Curated by René Morales

The complex interplay between movement and perception has long been the crux of Sarah Oppenheimer’s work. Interrogating the ways in which architecture inflects our movement and thereby frames the horizon of our experience, her astonishingly precise interventions into institutional spaces—which often take the form of apertures cut in walls, floors, and ceilings—produce sudden shifts, expansions, and occlusions in our visual field as we pass around and through them. Her upcoming installation S-281913 is an audacious extension of this logic: Oppenheimer proposes to animate her work itself by introducing two large rotating glass panels that will alternate between transparency and reflection depending on their position and that of the viewer. Situated within Herzog & de Meuron’s concrete-and-wood galleries (rather than in the white cube that is Oppenheimer’s typical milieu), the work’s mix of active viewer, kinetic sculpture, and assertive architecture promises to be an unusually catalytic combination.

Julian Rose

Anthony Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (SFMOMA)
SAN FRANCISCO
Through January 1, 2017
Curated by Erin O’Toole

Anthony Hernandez might be to Los Angeles what Eugène Atget is to Paris. While he has taken photographs in Rome, Baltimore, and elsewhere, Hernandez has, for more than four decades, persistently documented the oft-overlooked urban scenery of his native southern California—from the manicured storefronts and mannequinesque denizens of Beverly Hills to the remnants of homeless encampments improvised on the margins of the urban landscape. This retrospective, a first for the artist and the inaugural special exhibition in the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography, suggests that Hernandez, too, is worthy of a closer look. The catalogue accompanying this 160-work overview includes contributions by notable artistic peers—among them Robert Adams and Hernandez’s longtime friend Lewis Baltz—alongside reconsiderations of the photographer’s work by Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff and the show’s curator.

Michael Ned Holte

Whitfield Lovell

THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
WASHINGTON, DC
October 8 - January 8, 2017
Curated by Elsa Smithgall

The black men and women in Whitfield Lovell’s ongoing series “Kin”—each rendered on cream paper in velvety monochrome conté crayon and paired with gnomic found objects—seem not so much rescued from anonymity as discharged from a bureaucratic purgatory. For nearly twenty years, Lovell has worked from discarded early-twentieth-century ID cards, passports, and mug shots—from any black-and-white portrait at risk of haphazard defacement by stapler, really—and his figurative kin are frozen in time, at sites of fraught systemic and organizational intake. The resulting objects are at turns stately, heartbreaking, opaque, and lovingly intimate. At the Phillips, twenty-odd pieces from “Kin,” 2008–, will be paired with some dozen of the artist’s signature large-scale tableaux in an exhibition that crosses scales and media as well as source materials: The aspirational poses of larger works based on vintage studio photography sit opposite the visual spectrum from the “Kin” series’ institutional points of departure. A major monograph with contributions by the curator and others will accompany the show. After all, what’s a family album without something to have and to hold?

Gary Dauphin

Charles Ross, Solar Burn 1/29/77, 1977, paint on burned wood, 14 1/4 × 16 1/4". From “Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971.”

“Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971”

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, WASHINGTON, DC
WASHINGTON, DC
September 30 - January 29, 2017
Curated by James Meyer

Virginia Dwan is the stuff of legends: prescient dealer, visionary collector, generous benefactor. She’s Leo Castelli, Count Panza, and Andrew Mellon rolled into one. Featuring some hundred paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs, the National Gallery of Art will highlight the art that Dwan, still a tall beauty at eighty-five, has donated or promised to the museum. Other institutions, including MoMA, LACMA, and the Pompidou, are lending additional works shown at her galleries in LA and New York. From 1959 to 1967, her SoCal space hosted American abstractionists (Guston, Reinhardt), Nouveau Réalistes (Klein, Tinguely), and Pop artists (Oldenburg, Warhol, Rosenquist). Besides championing Minimalists (Andre, Flavin, LeWitt) and Conceptualists (Bochner, Weiner) on Fifty-Seventh Street from 1966 to 1971, the dealer-cum-philanthropist financed Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969–70; Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970; and the first version of De Maria’s Lightning Field, 1977. This exhibition and its catalogue, with an essay by Meyer, will showcase Dwan’s intrepid vision. Travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mar. 19–Sept. 10, 2017.

Phyllis Tuchman

Agnieszka Polska, I Am the Mouth II, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 5 minutes 45 seconds. From “Suspended Animation.”

“Suspended Animation”

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN
WASHINGTON, DC
Through March 12, 2017
Curated by Gianni Jetzer

Animated film has come a long way since J. Stuart Blackton’s pioneering Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906), with its crude sequences of goofy chalkboard drawings. An evolving palette of digital animation technologies—motion capture, ever more detailed 3-D visualization—shapes not only mainstream culture but, increasingly, the work of artists (and the oft-unsung technicians to whom they outsource their production). “Suspended Animation” brings together Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska, an international hexad whose practices are differentiated enough to suggest not only computer animation’s pervasiveness but also its flexibility—witness Atkins’s emotive avatars adrift in an uncanny valley, Cheng’s simulations mutating in real time, Polska’s fluent digital-psychedelic effects, and Marten’s loquacious skeuomorphic crossbreeds. In spite of these individual approaches, expect a shared responsiveness to the digital age’s manifold crises, from the specter of surveillance to the collapse of distinctions between virtual and physical realities.

Martin Herbert

Sanford Biggers, Laocoön (detail), 2015, vinyl, electric air pump, 72 × 60 × 120". Installation view, David Castillo Gallery, Miami, 2015–16.

“Sanford Biggers: Subjective Cosmology”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DETROIT (MOCAD)
DETROIT
Through January 1, 2017
Curated by Elysia Borowy-Reeder

Over the past two decades, Sanford Biggers has woven references to African American culture, Eastern spirituality, and global music and dance traditions into patchwork myths and rituals. This exhibition promises to broaden our perspective on the artist’s ambitious speculative histories, with a presentation of recent and newly made site-specific works, including Shatter, 2016, which makes its debut here. Following Shuffle, 2009, and Shake, 2011, Shatter is the final installment of Biggers’s multichannel video trilogy filmed at key points along the North Atlantic slave trade route that considers the undoing and reimagining of personal identity. Shatter’s three-screen installation will serve as a backdrop to an opening-night performance by Moon Medicin, Biggers’s Afrofuturist band. “Subjective Cosmology” will also feature the biggest iteration to date of Laocoön, 2015, a prostrate, semi-inflated, pulsating Fat Albert, the corpulent cartoon star of Bill Cosby’s animated series. A touchstone for the show, this work reflects on recent violence against African Americans as well as the loss of faith in public and authority figures, from Cosby himself to the US police.

Daniel Quiles