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.

Basim Magdy, An Apology to a Love Story That Crashed into a Whale (detail), 2016, sixty-four C-prints on metallic paper, each 18 7/8 × 28 3/8".

“Basim Magdy: The stars were aligned for a century of new beginnings”

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, CHICAGO (MCA CHICAGO)
CHICAGO
December 10 - March 19, 2017
Curated by Omar Kholeif

Rainbows, prisms, and a bouquet of tulips with playful faces drawn on their petals. Industrial wastelands and barren cityscapes. Soldiers, superheroes, skeletons, and a giant squid paired with a rocket. Basim Magdy’s first-ever US museum survey offers an introduction to the Egyptian artist’s sprawling, cheerfully sinister visual vocabulary via thirty-six works from the past decade, including drawings, paintings, films, photographs, and installations that reveal a perpetual remixing of tragicomic iconography. Magdy’s materials (gouache, spray paint, pen, Super 8 film dyed with household chemicals) are seductive and nostalgic. But his use of text—axioms, aphorisms, and witticisms that are superimposed on photos and films—is by turns bracingly critical and wry. In the accompanying catalogue, Kholeif and four other curators parse the various tensions (“word/picture,” “past/future,” “digital/analog,” “hope/disaster”) at play in Magdy’s oeuvre.

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Cindy Sherman, Office Killer, 1997, 35 mm, color, sound, 82 minutes. Norah Reed (Jeanne Tripplehorn). © Strand Releasing USA.

“Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life”

THE BROAD
LOS ANGELES
Through October 2
Curated by Philipp Kaiser

Sometimes the most obvious choice is also the best, right? Los Angeles’s sparkling new museum will launch its special exhibitions program with a career-spanning survey of photographs and a movie, Office Killer (1997) by Cindy Sherman. Sherman! Hollywood! Broad! It feels perfect. If there were an Academy Award for best acting in a photograph, she’d win. The Broads have collected Sherman’s work for three decades, and for the run of this show—the first presentation of the artist’s work in LA in nineteen years—everyone who lines up to say “cheese” in Yayoi Kusama’s twinkle-lit Infinity Mirrored Room can step inside the adjacent ground-floor galleries for a selfie master class. To experience the enduring power of Sherman’s eccentric, original, and unending exploration of self-identification—as filtered through the American dreams, values, and popular media tropes that this city has both incubated and come to represent—well, I’m excited.

Alex Israel

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror, 2011, still from the 13-minute-20-second three-channel color video component
of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising mirrors.

“Doug Aitken: Electric Earth”

MOCA GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY
LOS ANGELES
Through January 15, 2017
Curated by Philippe Vergne and Anna Katz

“A lot of times I dance so fast that I become what’s around me,” says the protagonist of Doug Aitken’s mesmeric, immersive multichannel video installation Electric Earth, 1999, which lends its name to the artist’s first large-scale survey, appropriately debuting in his hometown. The exhibition and catalogue highlight Aitken’s wide-ranging oeuvre, including such atmospheric pieces as diamond sea, 1997, his first foray into multichannel productions, as well as slickly fabricated sculptures, photographs, collages, and documentation of architectural projects. The show will also feature live works, among them the sound installation Sonic Fountain II, 2013/2015, and a host of public programs (modeled on Aitken’s previous “happenings,” as he calls them) for which he will collaborate with writers, actors, and other artists. Aitken’s starstruck and sun-stroked romanticism is not without poetry but rarely casts a shadow. Travels to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, May 27–Sept. 24, 2017.

Andrew Berardini

“Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors”

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
MIAMI
Through November 13
Curated by María Elena Ortiz

Since the early 2000s, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz has made videos that interweave social engagement and speculative fiction. The artist works with nonprofessional actors from diverse backgrounds to collectively investigate economic, ecological, and political challenges within the Caribbean. Projects such as Archivo, 2001, involve the reenactment of personal and political crises, as if history could be altered or ameliorated. Others, such as the Creative Capital–funded Verano de mujeres (Summer of Women), 2015, make imaginative use of documentary footage of marginalized women to tease out possible solutions—however outlandish—to troubling social injustices within Santiago Muñoz’s native Puerto Rico. This survey will feature approximately ten works made between 2010 and 2015, including Marché Salomon, 2015, which presents a conversation between two Haitian meat vendors that drifts between observations of their surroundings and musings about their wares’ potentially divine properties.

Daniel Quiles

Sarah Oppenheimer, Rotation Study: S-281913, 2016, digital video, black-and-white, silent, 15 seconds.

“Sarah Oppenheimer: S-281913”

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
MIAMI
September 30 - April 30, 2017
Curated by René Morales

The complex interplay between movement and perception has long been the crux of Sarah Oppenheimer’s work. Interrogating the ways in which architecture inflects our movement and thereby frames the horizon of our experience, her astonishingly precise interventions into institutional spaces—which often take the form of apertures cut in walls, floors, and ceilings—produce sudden shifts, expansions, and occlusions in our visual field as we pass around and through them. Her upcoming installation S-281913 is an audacious extension of this logic: Oppenheimer proposes to animate her work itself by introducing two large rotating glass panels that will alternate between transparency and reflection depending on their position and that of the viewer. Situated within Herzog & de Meuron’s concrete-and-wood galleries (rather than in the white cube that is Oppenheimer’s typical milieu), the work’s mix of active viewer, kinetic sculpture, and assertive architecture promises to be an unusually catalytic combination.

Julian Rose

Anthony Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (SFMOMA)
SAN FRANCISCO
Through January 1, 2017
Curated by Erin O’Toole

Anthony Hernandez might be to Los Angeles what Eugène Atget is to Paris. While he has taken photographs in Rome, Baltimore, and elsewhere, Hernandez has, for more than four decades, persistently documented the oft-overlooked urban scenery of his native southern California—from the manicured storefronts and mannequinesque denizens of Beverly Hills to the remnants of homeless encampments improvised on the margins of the urban landscape. This retrospective, a first for the artist and the inaugural special exhibition in the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography, suggests that Hernandez, too, is worthy of a closer look. The catalogue accompanying this 160-work overview includes contributions by notable artistic peers—among them Robert Adams and Hernandez’s longtime friend Lewis Baltz—alongside reconsiderations of the photographer’s work by Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff and the show’s curator.

Michael Ned Holte