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.
The past few years have seen the Gutai group catapult to the forefront of the ever-expanding history of postwar art. But the specificities of its members’ respective practices remain undetermined, a situation this two-person exhibition, co-organized with the Japan Foundation, Tokyo, seeks to remedy in part. For both Shiraga and Motonaga, the element of chance was central. Best known for painting exuberantly with his feet, Shiraga regarded abstraction as a form of live theater. Motonaga poured vividly hued paints, which pooled or ran in currents across his canvases, thus capturing the unpredictability of fluids left to their own devices. Including nearly sixty paintings, drawings, photographs, films, sculptures, archival materials, and re-creations of installations that cover the full extent of the artists’ careers from the 1950s to the 2000s, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue seek to illuminate how both artists so gleefully crossed the boundaries of painting, performance, and documentationall in the name of abstraction.
Every band I have ever known has had at least one artist in its entourage; somebody has to make the posters and the album covers. For Devo, an absurdist punk-rock band formed in 1972 whose members were influenced by the aesthetics of Russian Futurism, just about everyone in the group was an artistincluding Mark Mothersbaugh. The artist’s first retrospective shows uswith works dating from the 1960s to the present, including photocollages, kinetic musical sculptures, 30,000 underground-comics-style works on paper, and even a double-ended carthat Mothersbaugh is not only a great film composer (note his collaborations with Wes Anderson) but a polymath artist. A publication with contributions by Lerner, Anderson, and Shepard Fairey, among others, will further explore the artist’s life and his oeuvre, which ranges from mail art to the music of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Travels to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, June 21–Aug. 30, 2015; Cincinnati Art Museum and Contemporary Arts Center, Oct. 7, 2015–Jan. 5, 2016.
A good survey exhibition is both thoughtful in its assessment of an artist’s contribution and timed to a moment in which the public is primed to consider it. “Barbara Kasten: Stages” promises to be both, as Kasten’s measured engagement with photographic, sculptural, and architectural ideas since the 1970s is an undeniable precedent and prompt for contemporary postdisciplinary art practices. Tracking the artist’s remarkable trajectory through Bauhausian pedagogy and fiber art in the ’60s, the California Light and Space movement in the ’70s, and postmodernism in the ’80s, and culminating with her stellar recent photographs and a site-specific video work, this exhibition animates and provides access to a protean four-decade-long practice. In the accompanying catalogue, the long-underrecognized artist remarks in conversation with artist Liz Deschenesone of a generation of younger artists influenced by Kasten’s workthat she feels as if she has finally found her peers. A new round of conversations and exchanges is about to begin.
In Carl Andre’s own telling, his sculpture has occupied three distinct phases: “sculpture as form” (the carved beams of 1958–59), “sculpture as structure” (the stacked constructions of 1959–65), and “sculpture as place” (the horizontal arrangements of bricks and metal plates of 1966–2010 for which he is best known). This long-awaited retrospective, the artist’s first in the US in more than thirty years, aims to trace the contours of these developments with some fifty works produced between the late 1950s and early 2000s. Yet the show promises much more: Accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, it will feature roughly 165 of Andre’s concrete poems, as well as a selection of his little-known “Dada Forgeries”“minor” pun-infused readymades largely inspired by Duchamp, an artist Andre once declared himself against.
Travels to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, May 7–Oct. 12, 2015; Hamburger BahnhofMuseum für Gegenwart, Berlin, May 7–Sept. 25, 2016; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Oct. 20, 2016–Feb. 12, 2017.
Midcentury modernism might not be timeless, but it’s certainly current. Photo spreads of the open-plan offices of today’s media companies suggest that nothing says thriving start-up quite like molded-plastic Eames chairs. In the mostly recent sculpture, photography, and video works by the twenty artists in “MetaModern,” the iconic qualities of such high-design objects are highlighted and claims to functionality abandoned. Modes of homage range from William Cordova’s Brancusi-like column of lampshades to Conrad Bakker’s painted copies of photos from modernist furniture eBay listings to Barbara Visser’s postcards of tattered design classics displayed on rotating racks. But the stars of the show are Charles and Ray Eames, making multiple appearances by way of citation in these twenty-first-century riffs on modernist landmarks. Travels to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ, May 30–Aug. 30; Orlando Museum of Art, Sept. 26–Dec. 6; and other venues.
The Guggenheim and the New Museum in New York have both recently examined the art of the 1990s, and “Come as You Are” promises to be a worthwhile expansion of the discussion. Attempting an overview of art production between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11including some sixty works (paintings, sculptures, prints, videos, and digital art) by forty-five artists ranging from Elizabeth Peyton to Julie Mehretu, Rirkrit Tiravanija to Felix Gonzalez-Torresthe Montclair Art Museum survey will cover all the ’90s basics, such as globalization, digital culture, and contemporary art’s ongoing (and inevitable, necessary) engagement with popular culture. “Come as You Are” is, after all, the title of one of Nirvana’s most famous songs. The comprehensive catalogue includes essays by Huey Copeland, Joan Kee, and others. Travels to the Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA, June 12–Sept. 20; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Oct. 17, 2015–Jan. 31, 2016; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Feb. 16–May 15, 2016.