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.
“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.
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 1956when 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.
When I see a stellar work by Cecily Brown, I feel excited. There’s the audacity of executionthat messy control that courses through so much of the art I love, even among old masters. Brown is frank regarding her references to the great artists of the past, whether Veronese, Rubens, or Hogarth, and no less so about the modernist masters before whom she bends the knee: De Kooning comes to mind, and Gorky, even Picasso. “Rehearsal,” the artist’s first solo museum show in New York, will contain roughly sixty small canvases and a few very large drawings, several exhibited for the first time, affording viewers a unique opportunity to consider Brown’s work as a whole, and demonstrating that her draftsmanship is nothing if not painterly. If many of her thematic topoi remain resplendently out there, from the comparatively decorous ribaldry of Thomas Rowlandson’s eighteenth-century erotica to the more robust contemporary sensuality of Sasha Grey, at their best her compositions proffer an invitation to a glamorous partya party that casts a spell.
Born in Cuba just a few years after the emergence of abstraction, Carmen Herrera has built a more than seven-decade career that is a testament to patient discipline: She sold her first painting at the age of eighty-nine, and the last time a New York institution hosted her works was in 1998, at El Museo del Barrio. If the lore of Herrera’s sudden prominence threatens to outshine the work itself, the Whitney will bring us back to the heart of her sustained exploration of color and form, focusing on the postwar years between 1948 and 1978, during which she honed her prismatic, hard-edged abstraction, first in Paris and then New York. More than fifty paintings and drawings will be on view, along with a few wooden sculptures. Among these works are two series that serve as jumper cables for modernism: the spatially electric “Blanco y Verde” (White and Green), 1959–71, and the seven large canvases that comprise “Days of the Week,” 1975–78a bright celebration of structured time, which Herrera has undeniably mastered. Travels to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbia, OH, Feb. 4–Apr. 16, 2017.
Aki Sasamoto’s performances exist in a realm somewhere between Fluxus events, TED talks, and IKEA hacks. A delight in the physics of cause and effect seemingly propels the artist’s interactions within a landscape of MacGyvered devices. Sasamoto frequently implements repurposed housewaresmops, brooms, impossibly long forksin her performances, and will continue that trend this fall at SculptureCenter for her first solo show at a US museum. Here, the artist will install washers and dryers as part of a new body of site-specific work centered on notions of cleanliness and filth and the neuroses they engender. It is difficult to predict what all this will add up to: The only certain aspect of Sasamoto’s practicerife with fanciful monologues, symbol-laden gestures, and visual gagsis the element of surprise.
Kai Althoff is decadent, in the fin-de-siècle sense of the word. The artist’s Symbolist eye for all things excessive, ardent, and synesthetic was cultivated in 1990s Cologne, yet Althoff enacts the figure of the post-Kippenberger dandy not as slacker but as devotee, all about the details. His kaleidoscopic uses of decor, staging, installation, and performance have long explored the hermetic and private histories of late late capitalism (a project for Artforum in 2011 peeked inside the apartment of a jeweler-collector from Warhol’s circle). But Althoff’s is a Gesamtkunstwerk divided against itself, never cohering into some neat whole. This quixotic show, helmed by the artist, will include some two hundred works in all manner of media, from painting to music to fragrance to sculptureas well as an artist’s bookcreating a world of interiors all its own.