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.

László Moholy-Nagy, A II (Construction A II), 1924, oil and graphite on canvas, 45 5/8 × 53 3/4". © Hattula Maholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Moholy-Nagy: Future Present”

SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM | NEW YORK
NEW YORK
Through September 7
Curated by Karole Vail

This traveling survey of the renowned Bauhaus artist’s oeuvre will be the first retrospective of his work in the United States since the museum last hosted one in 1969. The earlier show emphasized his effusive embrace of technology and his capacity to think and work in gleeful disregard of any notion of medium specificity, which resonated powerfully with a generation of artists attempting to free themselves from the confines of modernist painting. Perhaps as a mark of how influential this attitude has been in decades since, the intermediality that once seemed so radical now constitutes the norm. Anchored by the museum’s own superb collection, the forthcoming exhibition will feature 250 objects in every conceivable medium, as well as replicas and speculative constructions of projects unrealized in the artist’s lifetime, affording us the opportunity to ponder the scope and future trajectory of Moholy-Nagy’s impact. A catalogue with essays by Vail and the cocurators of the show's Chicago and Los Angeles iterations—Matthew S. Witkovsky and Carol S. Eliel, respectively—among others, will accompany the exhibition. Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, Oct. 2, 2016–Jan. 3, 2017; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Feb. 12–June 18, 2017.

Joyce Tsai

Roberto Burle Marx, design for Minister’s Rooftop Garden, Ministry of Education and Health, Rio de Janeiro, 1938, gouache on paper, 20 1/2 × 41 3/8". © Burle Marx & Cia. Ltd., Rio de Janeiro.

“Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist”

THE JEWISH MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through September 18
Curated by Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson

With an immediately recognizable palette of forms between paintings, prints, tapestries, and above all gardens, Roberto Burle Marx was one of only a handful of polymath twentieth-century designers able to infuse a subtly layered sense of space to his work at every scale, from jewelry to urban space. Though he has long been celebrated as having translated painting into landscape architecture, this first presentation of the Brazilian artist’s work in New York in a quarter century will also emphasize the ways in which his fluency with plants—he discovered some fifty species—was driven by a subtle exploration of layers of hue, time, and light and shadow. This display of some 150 works also includes theater design and Burle Marx’s little-known late work for synagogues, all the while exploring his ongoing influence on contemporary artists. Travels to the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, July 7–Oct. 8, 2017; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Nov. 2017–Mar. 2018.

Barry Bergdoll

Danny Lyon, Juan Darias, Colombia, 1975, gelatin silver print, 5 5/8 × 4 1/4". © Danny Lyon.

“Danny Lyon: Message to the Future”

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
NEW YORK
Through September 25
Curated by Julian Cox and Elisabeth Sussman

The invitation to Danny Lyon’s unmissable retrospective at the Whitney this summer might read, concisely, “Welcome to Bleak Beauty,” as does the splash page of the artist’s website. Lyon is known primarily for his photographic books—rich photo-and-text essays like The Bikeriders (1967), Conversations with the Dead (1971), Indian Nations (2002)—and this exhibition includes generous selections from these and many other bodies of work spanning from 1963 to the present, as well as rarely seen films and objects from the artist’s archive. Indeed bleak, and beautiful, the work is also deeply engaged—not just activist, but active; you feel his presence and commitment to the lives and issues of the people he works with in his pictures’ every fiber. With the chance to see close to 175 photographs made over the course of fifty years, we’ll also be reminded of the simple, maddening questions Lyon’s work continues to prompt, as specified in his website’s “contents”: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Travels to the de Young Museum, San Francisco, Nov. 5, 2016–Mar. 12, 2017.

Lucy Raven

“The Keeper”

NEW MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through September 25
Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Margot Norton, Helga Christoffersen, and Natalie Bell

What would Walter Benjamin do with our Storage Wars and Spark Joy moment? “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories,” he famously wrote. The things we choose to hold on to signal intimate and emotional links to history in an ever more virtual (and uprooted) world. At the heart of “The Keeper” is the power and preservation of such objects and images. The curators will transform the New Museum into a multimedia high-low Wunderkammer of the global twentieth-into-twenty-first century, with eccentric ethnographies and ritual archives—among them, one containing thousands of photos of people and their teddy bears—culled from artists, institutions, and intellectuals. If you missed the 2013 Venice Biennale, here’s the chance to see one of its great highlights—Roger Caillois’s mineral collection. And fear not, bibliophiles: There will be a catalogue to add to your home library.

Prudence Peiffer

Antonio Lopez, Untitled, 1980, marker and gouache on two palettes, top 8 × 10“, bottom 10 × 12”.

“Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion”

EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO
NEW YORK
Through November 26
Curated by Rocío Aranda-Alvarado and Amelia Malagamba-Ansótegui

“Future Funk Fashion” will present three decades of work by an artist who traversed both counterculture and mainstream fashion to emerge as one of the most illuminating illustrators and photographers in the history of style. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, the prolific Lopez (1943–1987) had a career as fierce and captivating as his bright illustrations, mixed-media works, and Polaroids. He was at the center of fashion campaigns for Versace, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent, and his illustrations in Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, and the New York Times ushered in a stunning, sexually liberated, and youth-centered style, inspiring a generation of designers, including Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs. Icons such as Grace Jones, Jerry Hall (whose big break came through collaborations with Lopez), Tina Chow, Joey Arias, and Josephine Baker will all make an appearance via his images. And while this visual archive brims with a creative spark that documents a moment that has passed, Lopez’s genius rests in how this work is and always will be the future.

Eric Darnell Pritchard

Diane Arbus, Taxicab driver at the wheel with two passengers, N.Y.C., 1956, gelatin silver print, 6 1/8 × 8 7/8". © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC.

“Diane Arbus: In the Beginning”

THE MET BREUER
NEW YORK
Through November 27
Curated by Jeff L. Rosenheim

We know Diane Arbus for her square-format photographs of “freaks” and “normals,” taken in the 1960s, with which she created an inimitable style of personal confrontation with her subjects, markedly different from that of her “new-document,” street-photographing contemporaries. What we know less about are her beginnings, after she worked as a stylist for her fashion-photographer husband Allan Arbus, who gave her a camera when she was just eighteen. More than one hundred of the photographs she took with a 35-mm camera between 1956—when she numbered a roll of such film “#1”—and 1962, which marked the beginning of a decade of iconic Rolleiflex work, will be on view at the new Met Breuer this summer. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue of photographs largely drawn from the Metropolitan’s massive archive of Arbus’s prints, with essays by the curator and researcher Karan Rinaldo.

Carol Armstrong