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.

“Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s”

Through January 7 2015
Curated by Valerie Hillings

Promoting a vision somewhere between glory and horror, the postwar German group Zero has long puzzled me. Was their self-proclaimed desire to create a tabula rasa—to wipe the slate clean for the world—part of a techno-utopian beginning or an insidious historical forgetting? Or neither? This large-scale survey ventures to find out, showcasing approximately two hundred works and installations by members Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker but also by their pan-European network of friends and associates, from Lucio Fontana to Jesús Rafael Soto. Beyond these social and geographic relations, Zero made connections across media, too, linking painterly grid and raster scan, monochrome and screen, bodily movement and mechanized kinesis, optical perception and electric light—and pointing toward a future in which art and technology, human and nonhuman, might merge, for better or for worse.

Michelle Kuo

Quisqueya Henríquez, Familiar Things, 2012, acrylic paint on ink-jet print, 27 x 27". From “Beyond the Supersquare.”

“Beyond the Supersquare”

Through January 11 2015
Curated by Holly Block and María Inés Rodríguez

This exhibition—derived from a 2011 Bronx Museum symposium and accompanying volume of the same name—takes Lucio Costa’s idealized dwelling unit in Brasília, the superquadra, as a jumping-off point to explore the ways in which contemporary artists have addressed the contested legacy of Latin American and Caribbean architectural modernism. Twenty-plus artists contribute more than sixty works in diverse media—ranging from quasi-architectural interventions (Los Carpinteros) to incisive social critique (Daniela Ortiz and Alexander Apóstol) to poetic reflections on history and form (Quisqueya Henríquez and Ishmael Randall Weeks). These heterogeneous approaches promise to grapple not only with midcentury modernism’s effects on the built environment but with its abiding spectral presence as an emblem of utopia. Talks, screenings, and performances at an off-site pavilion designed by Canadian artist Terence Gower and Argentinean architect Galia Solomonoff will round out the show.

Daniel Quiles

“Robert Gober: The Heart is Not a Metaphor”

Through January 18 2015
Curated by Ann Temkin and Paulina Pobocha

Robert Gober’s iconic wax legs and oblique domestic objects possess the force of an eruption. They remain the most evocative sculptural rendition I have seen of the unconscious making itself known. That his work emerged during the plague years of HIV/AIDS only adds to the pain that typically accompanies psychic discovery. Gober is also one of our primary interlocutors with Marcel Duchamp—not the Conceptual, institutional-critique Duchamp, but the more elusive and evocative strain of Duchamp’s oeuvre that concerns itself with the problems of love, desire, and marriage. This retrospective of some 140 works from the 1970s through the present includes the return of Gober’s magisterial Dia installation of 1992. The catalogue comes with an essay by critic Hilton Als: Who could ask for a more affective and intelligent pairing?

Helen Molesworth

“Sturtevant: Double Trouble”

Through February 22 2015
Curated by Peter Eleey with Ingrid Langston

This first major US retrospective of Sturtevant’s work, which will include some fifty pieces made between 1961 and 2014, is necessary. It is necessary both for the artist, who adopted style as her medium, and for MoMA, which, in seeing its canon reflected in her oeuvre, might come to understand itself better. Half a century ago, Sturtevant realized that if you take a work of art—a painting by Jasper Johns or a silk-screened print by Andy Warhol, say—and repeat it, something becomes visible. She called that thing the “understructure” of art. Nobody—with the possible exception of critic Bruce Hainley, who is featured in the catalogue—has ever been able to fully grasp what she was after. Back in the 1960s, everyone in New York dismissed her as a pain in the neck. Now that she is no longer among us, things are different, and everybody seems ready to embrace her art. Justice at last! Travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Mar.–July 2015.

Daniel Birnbaum

Judith Scott, Untitled, 2004, fiber and found objects, 28 × 15 × 27".

“Judith Scott: Bound and Unbound”

Through March 29 2015
Curated by Catherine J. Morris and Matthew Higgs

What’s called “outsider art” has informed modern art for over a century; Judith Scott’s story shows that its example remains powerful. Born with Down syndrome and then left deaf by a childhood illness, Scott spent most of her first forty years in institutions until she was rescued from them by her twin sister, Joyce, in 1986. Within a couple of years, Scott began to make art—works often taking the form of irregular multicolored bundles and poles, intricately constructed of yarn and found mixed materials and with surfaces recalling the wrapping techniques of artists such as Harmony Hammond and Salvatore Scarpitta. Scott’s work is both nourishing and strange, and this exhibition, of some sixty pieces made between 1987 and the artist’s death in 2005, is her first American survey show—our first chance to see her art in depth.

David Frankel

“Jasper Johns: Picture Puzzles”

Through January 4 2015
Curated by Clifford Ackley and Patrick Murphy

Featuring just under two dozen works, the Museum of Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition will present a tightly focused look at five decades of Jasper Johns’s probing of the interplay of sign, process, and device.Highlighting the artist’s diverse and often elaborate efforts in printmaking, “Picture Puzzles”—assembled from private collections and the MFA’s own holdings—will also include a small sampling of drawings and sculptures and a copy of Foirades/Fizzles, the 1976 artists’ book Johns made in collaboration with Samuel Beckett. Spanning from Johns’s early gridded and layered numbers of the 1960s to the 2010 etching and aquatint Fragment of a Letter—based on an excerpt of a van Gogh missive and rendered in both stenciled type and American Sign Language pictographs—these puzzles compose a half century’s exploration of the complexities not just of image making but of representation itself.

Graham Bader