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.
Tadao Ando’s 2001 building for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation is both minimal and restrained, but it’s not quite a white cube. It is light gray, the color of the architect’s signature cast-in-place concrete, and its complex interiors, marked by carefully layered spaces and subtle plays of height and volume, belie the boxlike simplicity of its silhouette. As the latest spate of high-profile institutional projects reveals that museum architecture is still defined by the familiar polarity between overwhelming excess and mind-numbing neutrality, Ando’s recently completed renovation of the Pulitzer (which has transformed the building’s lower administrative and storage level into new galleries) could not be more timely. The inaugural, multilevel installation of solo exhibitions of the work of Alexander Calder, Fred Sandback, and Richard Tuttle serves to emphasize visual and spatial interconnection, demonstrating that a museum can actively shape the viewer’s experience without overpowering the art or simply fading into the background.
If a select few of Pop art’s past and present stars (think Sigmar Polke and Jeff Koons) recently took New York, the Walker Art Center’s upcoming exhibitionfeaturing some 140 works produced over the course of three decades on four continentsaims to widen our Pop horizons far beyond the usual names and locales. Alongside such household brands as Warhol and Rauschenberg, Polke will make an appearance, but so too will his (less recognized) fellow Capitalist Realists Konrad Lueg and Manfred Kuttner, here joined by Argentineans Marta Minujín and Edgardo Giménez, Brazilian Wanda Pimentel, and the Japanese-born Ushio Shinohara and Yayoi Kusama, among many others. Incorporating an extensive film and video program and showcasing works across media, the Walker exhibition and accompanying catalogue promise an unmatched opportunity to assess Pop’s global reach, and (it’s Pop, after all) to see some standout works by a few undisputed stars in the process. Travels to the Dallas Museum of Art, Oct. 11–Jan. 17, 2016; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 18–May 15, 2016.
From leather dykes and surfer dudes to LA freeways and Minnesota icehouses, the photography of Catherine Opie has long engaged in a dialogue between the genres of portraiture and landscape. The Wexner offers a new lens through which to understand that discourse by focusing on two of Opie’s most recent bodies of work: a series of color portraits of friends, family members, and fellow artists and a collection of quasi-abstract landscape photographs. Opie pushes the lush color and formal stature of her portraits even further, sometimes presenting these works in oval formats recalling Northern Renaissance painting. In her latest landscapes, she racks the camera’s focus to create pictures in which nature (forests, waterfalls, mountains) is loosely recognizable yet never clearly resolved or easily inhabitable. This show promises to open another chapter in Opie’s ongoingand thoroughly indispensablephotographic story.
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.
Blue, writer and historian Rebecca Solnit muses, is the “color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.” Indeed, the hue’s synonymy with absence, melancholy, and transcendence is perhaps epitomized by Derek Jarman’s final film, Blue (1993)its saturated ultramarine projection echoing the filmmaker’s experience of going blind. Lifting its title and marrow from Solnit’s 2008 essay “The Blue of Distance,” this exhibition presents works by nine artists who engage this particular phenomenon of obscuration. From “Untitled” (Blue Mirror), 1990, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s psychoanalytic gesture in the form of minimalist takeaway gazing-pool prints, to Untitled (Roman Note), 1970, Cy Twombly’s inscrutable demonstration in cyan wax crayon and oil of what remains inaccessible to language, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue, with a contribution from poet Anne Carson, seek to articulate what occupies the space between subjects and their objects of desirethat which we’ve deemed blue.