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.
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 artworks 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 showour first chance to see her art in depth.
Although long popular with curators on the international biennial circuit, Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s work has only rarely been shown on this side of the globe. Expect her understated but compelling videos to be the showstoppers of her first North American retrospective. In preparation for this overview, SculptureCenter is restoring fifteen of her videos from 2001–13, which will be projected onto suspended glass panels. By filming unlikely juxtapositions of art and daily lifefor example, the unself-conscious commentary of Thai farmers looking at Jean-François Millet’s The GleanersRasdjarmrearnsook frequently returns to the same basic question: How do we, as humans, make sense of the world around us? Also featuring photographs and sculptures, the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays by the curator and scholar Arnika Fuhrmann.
From 1966 until shortly before his death last summer, On Kawara produced his best-known work, the unwaveringly steadfast “Today” series. The Japanese-born, New York–based artist rendered the date each canvas was painted in flat, uninflected type, following the graphic conventions of the place where he was working at the time. The relationship between time and place animates the entirety of Kawara’s itinerant career, which, if steeped in histories of ’60s Conceptualism, also suggests the emerging cultures of globalization. “On KawaraSilence,” the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s output, will also include his work with postcards (the “I Got Up” series); newspaper cuttings (“I Read”); and massive ledgers of dates (“One Million Years”), which will be read in a continuous performance during the course of the exhibition. A catalogue will feature essays by the curators and six other contributors from diverse fields.
The New Museum’s upcoming triennial is a show that speaks to both the promise and the peril of our relationship with contemporary technology, as envisioned by a new generation of artists. “Surround Audience,” the show’s evocative title, points to the unprecedented velocity with which images of the self are shared, circulated, and reshaped, while also calling to mind a new age of mass surveillance. This tension will play out through an impressively wide range of practices, represented by fifty-one participants; in addition to experiments with more traditional mediums and an ambitious publishing initiative, the exhibition will feature contributions by a comedian, the trend-forecasting group K-Hole, and nightlife impresario Juliana Huxtable, who appears on the museum’s website resplendent in sea-foam-green body paint and long, canary-yellow braids. An image fit for the cover of an Ursula K. Le Guin novel, it likewise suggests a speculative glimpse into a future world.
In last year’s PBS documentary Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, one of the artist’s associates offhandedly introduces him to a stranger in New York as “the black Andy Warhol.” Not only has Wiley’s work become singularly recognizable (since emerging in the early 2000s), but the artist also shares with the King of Pop an utter reliance on the charismatic, glimmering stars of the street. In his first museum survey, at the site of his first institutional solo show in 2004, Wiley will present approximately sixty works, including recent pieces in bronze and stained glass. But the focal point will be his paintings, extravagant mash-ups of Nike billboards and rococo pomp. Early on, these featured languidly posing African American men scouted from street-canvassing sessions; they now include international subjects as well asin a significant breakthroughwomen. A catalogue with texts by Jeffrey Deitch, Franklin Sirmans, Deborah Willis, and more should add context to Wiley’s uniquely consistent yet variegated practice. Travels to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Sept. 20, 2015–Jan. 10, 2016; and other venues.
Talk of the Björk retrospective always raises eyebrows. Yes, it’s a risky crossover thing, but even if it goes a little astray, it’ll be coolpromiscuously collaborative, fashiony, and strange. The visionary Icelandic pop star has for more than two decades brought experimental aesthetics to stadium stages and dance charts, always matching her prolific and innovative musical output with striking, otherworldly visual material and an evolving persona. Appropriately, this exhibition will present a complex narrative of her career, blending biography and fiction in an account written by the artist and author Sjón Sigurdsson. “Björk” will include sound, film, and video works as well as instruments, costumes, and a new 3-D installation. Curator Klaus Biesenbach will author a catalogue for the show, which is sure to be this spring’s museum blockbuster.