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.

Paul Sietsema, Empire, 2002, 16 mm, color and black-and-white, silent, 24 minutes. From “Question the Wall Itself.”

“Question the Wall Itself”

WALKER ART CENTER
MINNEAPOLIS
November 20 - May 21, 2017
Curated by Fionn Meade and Jordan Carter

This twenty-three-artist, pointedly internationalist exhibition pivots around the notion of esprit décor, an idea posited by the curator’s designated muse, Marcel Broodthaers. The term encapsulated a politically critical engagement with interior space—yet today’s “wall,” as the show’s room-size installations and smaller sculptures, paintings, photographs, and video works affirm, is a projective surface for anything from barbed commentary on globalization’s tilted playing field to melancholic cultural nostalgia. Alongside work by the razor-witted Belgian, expect to encounter Lucy McKenzie’s disjointed sculptural evocations of Adolf Loos’s architecture (Loos House, 2013), Nick Mauss’s painted-mirror room dividers inspired by the cryptic visions of modernist painter Florine Stettheimer (F. S. Interval II, 2014), Paul Sietsema’s filmic epic employing modeled domestic spaces connoting American and European imperialism (Empire, 2002), and Walid Raad’s incised, freestanding stretches of museum wall space, which consider the flattening effects of the Middle East’s nascent institutions on the art they house (Letters to the Reader, 2014). These walls, once questioned, talk.

Martin Herbert

“Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950”

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART
PHILADELPHIA
October 25 - January 8, 2017
Curated by Matthew Affron, Mark A. Castro, Dafne Cruz Porchini, and Renato González Mello

This ambitious exhibition couldn’t be timelier, given that Hispanics of predominantly Mexican origin are now the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, and considering the dismaying signs of cultural intolerance highlighted in the current presidential race. “Paint the Revolution” makes a case for Mexico’s enduring influence in the US and its significant contributions to modernism. Part of the exhibition deals with the encounters between Hispanic and Anglo-American cultures. One section explores early attempts at what is known today as decolonization. Another focuses on the artistic community’s international connections. These approaches—present in paintings, murals, prints, photographs, broadsheets, and books—point to historical frictions between regionalisms and cosmopolitanisms and to their differing visual expressions, which may also elucidate the aesthetic divides expressed in contemporary art and the inherent demand that it be both locally significant and internationally meaningful. Travels to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 2017.

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy

Hélio Oiticica, PN1 Penetrável (PN1 Penetrable), 1960, oil on wood, 79 7/8 × 59 × 59". Installation view, Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, 2008. Photo: César Oiticica Filho.

“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium”

CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF ART
PITTSBURGH
October 1 - January 2, 2017
Curated by Lynn Zelevansky, Elisabeth Sussman, James Rondeau, and Donna De Salvo

Hélio Oiticica is an artist whose name has become ubiquitous in discussions of global contemporary art, yet his work is often represented or described in limited, even self-serving ways. “To Organize Delirium”—a collaboration between the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—should constitute a welcome corrective by providing the most complete retrospective to date (151 pieces in all media, including twenty-three works by other artists) and an extensive scholarly catalogue with contributions by the curators as well as from many younger scholars of Brazilian art and culture. The exhibition will also be the first to extensively explore Oiticica’s time in London and New York (1969–78) and will enrich our sense of the artist’s foundational contributions to both historical and contemporary international conversations about modernism, sexuality, and the political potential of art. Travels to the Art Institute of Chicago, Feb. 19–May 7, 2017; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, July 14–Oct. 1, 2017.

Ann Reynolds

Ceal Floyer, Solo (detail), 2006, microphone stand, microphone holder, hairbrush, 54 3/8 × 25 1/4 × 25 1/4".

Ceal Floyer

ASPEN ART MUSEUM
ASPEN
October 20 - January 22, 2017
Curated by Heidi Zuckerman

Two decades ago, while her YBA predecessors were garnering international attention for blaring, acerbic one-liners, Ceal Floyer emerged in Britain as a beacon of restraint, creating such quotidian epigrams as Light, 1994, a dangling, unplugged bulb lit by four surrounding slide projectors. Floyer’s minimal gestures require sustained consideration, making her practice perfectly suited for a showing such as this—a spare but rewarding survey of thirteen pieces made between 1993 and 2015. Take in the early work Door, 1995, in which a slide projector has been configured to mysteriously illuminate a strip of light beneath a closed door, or Solo, 2006, a mic stand supporting a would-be star’s hairbrush. Or pause to digest the artist’s latest iteration of Bars, 2015, for which she has fitted the museum’s street-level picture window with bespoke black steel bars. Floyer’s closed-circuit construction outs itself, plangently, as a brittle, carefully maintained surface, half covering and half concealing. Existential anxiety? We don’t talk about that.

Martin Herbert

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”

HIGH MUSEUM OF ART
ATLANTA
Through 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

“Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia”

HARVARD ART MUSEUMS
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
Through September 18
Curated by Stephen Gilchrist

"Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia,” held at the Asia Society in New York in 1988, was a key exhibition in demonstrating that Aboriginal art was not “primitive” but modern. This show goes one step further in arguing that Aboriginal art is not modern but contemporary. “Everywhen,” a neologism adopted from anthropologist William Stanner, is a way of taking the Dreaming—the cultural and spiritual worldview of Aborigines—out of the past and placing it in the present. The show includes Pintupi artists such as Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, the Anmatyerr Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Sydney photographer Christian Thompson, Brisbane Conceptualist Vernon Ah Kee, and other native Australians. If New Yorker David Smith once made a work called Australia in response to Aboriginal art, and Texan Forrest Bess actually wanted to become an Aborigine, what Gilchrist seeks to prove is that Aboriginal art is not just “everywhen” but belongs everywhere.

Rex Butler