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.

Juliana Huxtable, Untitled in the Rage, 2014, C-print. From the series “Universal Crop Tops for All The Self Canonized Saints of Becoming,” 2014–15. From the 2015 Triennial.

2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience”

NEW MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through May 24

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.

Thomas Beard

“Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic”

BROOKLYN MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through May 24
Curated by Eugenie Tsai

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 as—in a significant breakthrough—women. 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.

Nick Stillman

Still from Bjrk’s 1993 video Human Behavior, directed by Michel Gondry.

Bjrk

MOMA - THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
NEW YORK
Through June 7
Curated by Klaus Biesenbach

Talk of the Bjrk retrospective always raises eyebrows. Yes, it’s a risky crossover thing, but even if it goes a little astray, it’ll be cool—promiscuously 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 Sjn Sigurdsson. “Bjrk” 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.

Johanna Fateman

“After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997”

QUEENS MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through June 28
Curated by Arshiya Lokhandwala

Choosing the moment of Indian independence and its fiftieth anniversary as the temporal anchors for this show, curator Lokhandwala will draw together works in a variety of media for an expansive exhibition of modern and contemporary Indian art. Works by major figures including painters M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, and F. N. Souza are sure to be among the highlights. Perhaps the greatest challenge in mounting such an exhibition is to relieve the art of the burden of cultural representation and instead to explore, in all their complexity, questions about art, modernity, and globalization that span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and transcend the Indian context. Related themes that were examined by Lokhandwala and colleagues in a symposium in 2012, when the exhibition was being conceptualized, will be revisited in a forthcoming publication with contributions by Iftikhar Dadi, Geeta Kapur, Saloni Mathur, and Rebecca M. Brown, among others.

Chanchal Dadlani

Laurie Simmons, How We See/Liz/Coral, 2014, ink-jet print, 70 48".

“Laurie Simmons: How We See”

THE JEWISH MUSEUM
NEW YORK
Through August 9
Curated by Kelly Taxter

Laurie Simmons’s sustained investigation into both physical and psychological artifice—from the figurines and miniaturized architectural environments pictured in her early photos to her later deployment of anatomically accurate “love dolls” as actors in oddly poignant domestic dramas around her own home—has a certain conceptual and spatial trajectory to it, and her decision in recent years to begin working with human subjects represents a logical, intriguing turn in her provocative practice. Characteristically looking to trouble questions of identity and presentation, the photographs in “How We See” build on a suite of portraits the artist first exhibited last year, for which she drew on the cosplay form known in Japan as kigurumi. The recent, large-scale images depict a series of “doll girls” with wide, Margaret Keane–style eyes carefully painted on their closed lids—modified bodies located at the uncanny point where the “natural” comes in contact with the emerging technologies and habits of posthumanist self-representation.

Jeffrey Kastner

“One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North”

MOMA - THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
NEW YORK
Through September 7
Curated by Leah Dickerman

Between 1900 and 1960, an estimated five million African Americans migrated from Southern states to urban centers in the North, a process accelerated in 1915 by the wartime industrial boom. In a series of sixty tempera panels created in 1940–41, Jacob Lawrence captured in striking color and form the experience of these individuals on the move. The paintings, usually split between MoMA and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC—the show’s organizers, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture—will be reunited this spring for the first time in two decades. Scholar Henry Louis Gates has argued that the Great Migration caused the emergence of a new culture, and Lawrence’s images bear witness to the massive social, political, and demographic transformations of the period. Seeing the paintings alongside contemporaneous responses in painting, photography, literature, and music will highlight Lawrence’s series as a trenchant reformulation of historical accounting in the modern period.

Rachael Z. DeLue