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.

Marcel Broodthaers, General with Cigar, 1970, found oil painting, cigar, 15 3/4 × 11 7/8 × 2 3/4". © Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SABAM, Brussels.

“Marcel Broodthaers: Retrospective”

Through May 15
Curated by Christophe Cherix and Manuel Borja-Villel

Those who thought they knew this father of institutional critique will have their heads turned by Marcel Broodthaers’s first US survey in a quarter century. Comprising some 200 works, including early egg- and mussel-shell pieces, film installations that incorporate the works’ packaging and screens, and the late décors—which combined retrospective, film set, and proto-installation art—MoMA’s exhibition builds on its acquisition of the extraordinary Daled collection and is complemented by a catalogue with essays from the curators, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Thierry de Duve, and Jean-François Chevrier. Rarely seen objects such as the postcard collection with which Broodthaers launched his Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles in 1968 and a darkly funny flea-market portrait of a fully decorated general punctuated with an actual cigar butt should lend acute insight into the artist’s crucial linkages between nationalism, imperialism, and the fetishism of art itself. The timing couldn’t be better. Travels to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Oct. 4, 2016–Jan. 9, 2017.

Rachel Haidu


Through August 7
Curated by Catherine J. Morris, Saisha Grayson, Jess Wilcox, and Stephanie Weissberg

Titles with exclamation points can come off like they’re trying too hard. This exhibition, however, might merit such enthusiasm, as its innovative premise connects past and present through a consideration of shifting definitions of propaganda. Twenty recent art and activist practices such as those of Chto Delat, Marina Naprushkina, and Dyke Action Machine will be placed alongside five case studies from earlier in the twentieth century, including considerations of the NAACP’s campaign against lynching and of Soviet feminist agitation. With its focus on graphic design, newsprint, and posters, “Agitprop!” could illuminate how specific shared formal strategies have resonated across time and place, as well as reveal quite local aesthetics. Collaboratively organized by Morris and the staff of the Sackler Center, the show will mutate and expand over the course of its eight-month run.

Julia Bryan-Wilson

Iris van Herpen, dress from the fall/winter 2013–14 haute couture “Wilderness Embodied” collection, silicone feathers, cotton twill, silicone-coated gull skulls, synthetic pearls, glass eyes. From “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Photo: Nicholas Alan Cope.

“Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”

Through August 14
Curated by Andrew Bolton

Any great dress is wearable technology. It’s the product of technology, insofar as clothes that deserve to be expensive are manifestations of craft, art, and workmanship—of technē, as the Greeks denoted “cleverness of hand.” It’s also a kind of tech product, in that clothes augment perceptions of the wearer that become the wearer’s reality.

This spring’s extravangaza is a show unconcerned with whether hands or machines are cleverer. Paid for by Apple with additional help from Condé Nast, “Manus x Machina” weaves together (handmade, traditional) couture and (machine-made, avant-garde) ready-to-wear. A suite of rooms is decked out like a Parisian atelier, while the Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center hosts a demonstration of 3-D printing and a catalogue boasts interviews with Hussein Chalayan, Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada, among others. From a 130-year-old Charles Frederick Worth ballgown, brocaded in silk, to a three-year-old Iris van Herpen frock, printed in pale flamingo acrylic, the hundred-some garments on display are technically wearable and totally, cumulatively unreal.

Sarah Nicole Prickett

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard (detail), 2013, paper, wood, glue, dimensions variable. Photo: Jean Vong.

Geoffrey Farmer

Through July 31
Curated by Dan Byers

Geoffrey Farmer succinctly noted, some months back, “My work appears to me as wreckage”—articulating the formal-pileup effect of his exploded-collage installations, the air of obsolescence emanating from the vintage print media he uses so pointedly, and even the way his hundreds of Frankensteined cutouts swarm like the undead and stand at attention. He captures that intoxicating Benjaminian sensation that we experience when faced, like the angel of history, with the quantities of accretion and devastation that constitute the stuff of the archive and “progress.” Monumental, room-size stagings of the miniature, including Boneyard, 2013, and The Surgeon and the Photographer, 2009–13, will be featured in this survey of Farmer’s recent paper sculptures, a mostly medium-specific presentation with the notable exception of a computer-generated algorithmic slide show. An artist-driven publication, with a text by the curator, will accompany the exhibition.

Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

Kathryn Andrews, Coming to America (Filet-O-Fish), 2013, stainless steel, paint, found object, film props, 104 1/4 × 54 × 43".

“Kathryn Andrews: Run for President”

Through May 8
Curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm

While Chicago is the birthplace of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the adopted hometown of POTUS no. 44 Barack Obama, the title of LA-based Kathryn Andrews’s first solo museum show in the US refers to a presidential campaign by—surprise!—Bozo the Clown. Fifteen seductive yet chilling sculptures, made since 2011, many of which amend certified movie props (among other political footballs thrown from the collective unconscious), will be appointed to a wild exhibition narrative for which Bozo’s largely forgotten 1984 bid serves as a backdrop. No clown rides alone, and the red-nosed candidate will be joined by an ensemble that includes Richard Nixon, Mr. T, Nancy Reagan, McDonald’s Captain Crook (who pirates Filet-O-Fish sandwiches), and Sammy Davis Jr. A catalogue with contributions by pundits Widholm, Kristine Stiles, and Hamza Walker (in conversation with Andrews) thickens the plot.

Michael Ned Holte

“Monster Roster: Existentialist Art in Postwar Chicago”

Through June 12
Curated by John Corbett and Jim Dempsey

Although the term Chicago Imagist has become a familiar catchall for several generations of Windy City figurative artists, the movement’s intricate history deserves closer study. What better place to start than with the first generation, whom art historian Franz Schulze memorably described as the Monster Roster—artists closer to expressionism and (as this show’s subtitle would have it) existentialism than were the later Hairy Who? The beastly bevy includes names that remain famous (Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, H. C. Westermann) and cult favorites who ought to be better known (June Leaf, Irving Petlin), as well as others who have fallen into obscurity (among them Cosmo Campoli and George Cohen). The curators and their collaborators offer a welcome chance to revisit the creative ferment of Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s through a selection of more than sixty works by fifteen artists.

Barry Schwabsky