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.

Louise Lawler, Portrait, 1982, silver-dye bleach print, 19 5/8 × 19 5/8". From “Ordinary Pictures.”

“Ordinary Pictures”

Through October 9
Curated by Eric Crosby

“Ordinary Pictures” will investigate the pervasive relevance and versatility of stock photography—images often constructed as tropes and produced expressly for commercial use—through the postwar Conceptual art practices that appropriated and repurposed it as a means of cultural critique. Included are some thirty artists, many of whom do not (or did not) consider themselves “photographers” in the formal sense of the term, and whose backgrounds, interests, and outputs vary dramatically: Works by Ed Ruscha, Sturtevant, and Andy Warhol will mingle with those by Robert Heinecken, Sarah Charlesworth, Steve McQueen, Larry Sultan, and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others. Supplemented by a catalogue featuring essays by Eva Respini, Thomas Beard, and Lane Relyea, the show promises an in-depth rumination on the inverse function of art itself—and on every work’s potential to perform as both concept and cliché.

Isabel Flower

Lee Kit, His right hand is holding something, 2015, acrylic, emulsion paint, ink-jet print, and pencil on cardboard, towel, 23 5/8 × 48".

“Lee Kit: Hold Your Breath, Dance Slowly”

May 12 - October 9
Curated by Misa Jeffereis and Siri Engberg

Doing humble things to humble objects is at the heart of Hong Kong–born, Taiwan-based Lee Kit’s practice. Lee’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States surveys a decade of the artist’s understated investigations of the expanding contiguity between art and everyday life. Spanning a diverse range of media, from modest configurations of handpainted cardboard supports to a thirteen-channel video installation of stacked monitors depicting common household products (I can’t help falling in love, 2012), the show demonstrates Lee’s foregrounding of the nondescript as central to what makes lived experience so psychologically specific. Especially compelling is the artist’s engagement with scale, both in terms of the relationships created through the juxtaposition of differently sized objects and the frameworks of spatial organization to which he (and we) are persistently, and often irrevocably, subject.

Joan Kee

Pablo Picasso, Olga Khokhlova with a Mantilla, 1917, oil on canvas, 25 1/4 × 20 7/8". © Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change”

Through May 9
Curated by Simonetta Fraquelli

This exhibition will be the first in the US to take on the much-debated question of Picasso’s stylistic modality, particularly the ease with which Cubism rubbed shoulders with neoclassicism in the artist’s work, both leading up to and following World War I. Bringing together some fifty works in a wide range of media, including painting, collage, works on paper, illustrated letters, stage decor, and costume design—spanning roughly 1912 to 1924—the Barnes Foundation proposes a rethinking of Picasso’s capacity to paint or draw one motif in several distinct manners, placing it in the context of the war as well as in relation to the contemporaneous output of his fellow Cubists. With its accompanying catalogue of essays by Fraquelli, Kenneth Silver, Elizabeth Cowling, and Dominique H. Vasseur, this show will bring a new dimension to a transitional phase in the artist’s prolific career. Travels to the Columbus Museum of Art, OH, June 10–Sept. 11.

Karen Butler

Louise Fishman, Untitled, 2011, acrylic on metal, 8 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 1 1/4".

“Louise Fishman: Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock”

Through August 14
Curated by Ingrid Schaffner

In tandem with an independently organized retrospective at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, this hometown survey of Fishman’s fifty-year-long career features the painter’s esteemed large-scale gestural abstractions alongside a selection of intimate studio investigations—an assortment of miniature paintings, sketchbooks, and small sculptures—that share the same physicality and unapologetic emotional punch as her bigger, iconic works. The exhibition’s hinge is Self-Portrait, Fishman’s 1960 self-portrait as a boxer, one of the artist’s engagements with feminism and queer identity. The show promises to reveal the rigorous material research underlying Fishman’s celebrated career, one dedicated to reclaiming the language of Abstract Expressionism, long dominated by men. The accompanying catalogue features contributions by Helaine Posner, Carrie Moyer, and Nancy Princenthal and an interview with the artist by Ingrid Schaffner, curator of the Fifty-Seventh Carnegie International.

Michelle Grabner

Vik Muniz, Sandcastle #10, 2014, digital C-print, 71 × 86 7/8". From the series “Sand Castles,” 2014.

Vik Muniz

Through May 29
Curated by Arthur Ollman

Best known for his elaborate copies of iconic images from pop culture and the Western art-historical canon made with materials such as garbage, chocolate sauce, and peanut butter, São Paulo–born artist Vik Muniz is now the recipient of a midcareer retrospective, consisting of 120 photographs and three sculptures, dating from 1989, the year of Muniz’s first solo exhibition in New York, to the present day. The show will also include several examples of Muniz’s recent technophilic forays into the microcosmic, including works from “Sand Castles,” 2014, which features blown-up images of castles the artist etched on grains of sand using a focused ion beam, and “Colonies,” 2014, a collection of mandala-like images of cancer cells and bacteria, both created in collaboration with researchers at MIT. A catalogue featuring an essay by the curator and an interview with Muniz by art historian Diana Wechsler accompanies the exhibition.

Brienne Walsh

Walker Evans, Shoppers, Randolph Street, Chicago, 1946, gelatin silver print, 15 1/2 × 12 1/4". © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

“Walker Evans: Depth of Field”

June 11 - September 11
Curated by John T. Hill, Heinz Liesbrock, and Brett Abbott

While America fractures under the pressure of the latest presidential election, the High Museum is revisiting a photographic practice that subjected the nation to a brilliantly sensitive aesthetic conscience. Featuring more than 120 black-and-white and color prints, spanning from the 1920s to the 1970s, the show and attendant catalogue will give viewers a chance to revisit the dogged intelligence of a lifetime’s hard poetry. Evans had few peers in his capacity to disclose social relations through images and to coax the slow violence of American life into visibility. Working with Lincoln Kirstein, he learned to amplify the power of this disclosure through sequence. This is hard stuff for a museum to handle, but it remains vital to try. Travels to the Vancouver Art Gallery, Oct. 29, 2016–Jan. 22, 2017.

Robin Kelsey