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.
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 showthe first presentation of the artist’s work in LA in nineteen yearseveryone 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-identificationas filtered through the American dreams, values, and popular media tropes that this city has both incubated and come to representwell, I’m excited.
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 solutionshowever outlandishto 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.
Animated film has come a long way since J. Stuart Blackton’s pioneering Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906), with its crude sequences of goofy chalkboard drawings. An evolving palette of digital animation technologiesmotion capture, ever more detailed 3-D visualizationshapes not only mainstream culture but, increasingly, the work of artists (and the oft-unsung technicians to whom they outsource their production). “Suspended Animation” brings together Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska, an international hexad whose practices are differentiated enough to suggest not only computer animation’s pervasiveness but also its flexibilitywitness Atkins’s emotive avatars adrift in an uncanny valley, Cheng’s simulations mutating in real time, Polska’s fluent digital-psychedelic effects, and Marten’s loquacious skeuomorphic crossbreeds. In spite of these individual approaches, expect a shared responsiveness to the digital age’s manifold crises, from the specter of surveillance to the collapse of distinctions between virtual and physical realities.
“The World According to CPLY” offers the first comprehensive exhibition in the US of the self-taught artist known as CPLY (pronounced “SEE-ply”). A painter of bawdy, cartoonish, and often politically barbed scenes, Copley was also one of the most important collectors of Surrealist art and, briefly, a dealer in it: In 1948, he opened a Beverly Hills gallery with his brother-in-law, which, financially unsuccessful, closed after six months. Two decades later, Copley launched S.M.S. (Shit Must Stop), a periodical consisting of prints, multiples, and sound recordings that sought to bypass the commercial art world by making works widely available at a modest subscription rate. In addition to all six of the S.M.S. portfolios, which include contributions by Marcel Duchamp, Bruce Nauman, and Yoko Ono, among many others, the Menil show will feature more than one hundred of Copley’s figurative paintings and works on paper from the early 1950s through the ’90s, as well as selections from the artist’s personal collection. Travels to the Fondazione Prada, Milan, Oct. 2016–Jan. 2017.
Mark Flood is a Pop artist with punk-rock roots, gnarly and deliriously twisted, and this show’s misspelling of “Greatest Hits” is obviously intended. To grate: to irritate or annoy, to rub or wear away, to make a harsh rasping sound. That’s what Flood’s been doing all along, wielding a poison pen in his wickedly inspired writing and using an X-Acto knife like a scalpel to dissect modern life. This survey of nearly fifty works made over the past thirty years brings together fractured collages that eviscerate celebrity, and paintings that rattle the basest drives of society by perversely encouraging themwith phrases like ASK YOUR DRUG DEALER IF YOUR HEART IS STRONG ENOUGH FOR SEXUAL ACTIVITY. No wonder the museum will offer “age-restricted tours.” Flood’s popular-with-collectors “lace” paintings will also be on view. As beautiful as they may be, their abraded surfaces conjure not only the friction of his previous work, but a whole history of painting that commands, “Destroy the picture.” In Flood’s universe, to collide the “best of” and the “worst of” is simply to ask: What’s the difference? A catalogue with essays by Arning, Alison Gingeras, Scott Indrisek, Carlo McCormick, and El Topito should have a field day with that one.
The museum debut of Mark Bradford’s Receive Calls on Your Cellphone from Jail, 2013, an expansive installation of mixed-media paintings featuring text that evokes the roadside signage advertising bail bonds and the like, reflects on the rule that prohibits inmates from placing collect calls to cell phones. Originally mounted in 2013 as a set of 150 panels that covered all four walls of a nine-by-nine-by-nine-foot gallery at White Cube, London, the work will be reconceived for this occasion as a grid of thirty-eight panels on one wall, arranged in two horizontal rows in a sixty-foot span. This show thus extends the artist’s trenchant critiques of the built environment into the bleak landscape of the American prison complex. Representing less the jail cell’s infrastructure than its indignitiesparticularly that which circumscribes the daily experience of the incarceratedit also, somewhat more than implicitly, critiques a system in which blacks are jailed at six times the rate of whites.