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.
Promoting a vision somewhere between glory and horror, the postwar German group Zero has long puzzled me. Was their self-proclaimed desire to create a tabula rasato wipe the slate clean for the worldpart of a techno-utopian beginning or an insidious historical forgetting? Or neither? This large-scale survey ventures to find out, showcasing approximately two hundred works and installations by members Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker but also by their pan-European network of friends and associates, from Lucio Fontana to Jesús Rafael Soto. Beyond these social and geographic relations, Zero made connections across media, too, linking painterly grid and raster scan, monochrome and screen, bodily movement and mechanized kinesis, optical perception and electric lightand pointing toward a future in which art and technology, human and nonhuman, might merge, for better or for worse.
This exhibitionderived from a 2011 Bronx Museum symposium and accompanying volume of the same nametakes Lucio Costa’s idealized dwelling unit in Brasília, the superquadra, as a jumping-off point to explore the ways in which contemporary artists have addressed the contested legacy of Latin American and Caribbean architectural modernism. Twenty-plus artists contribute more than sixty works in diverse mediaranging from quasi-architectural interventions (Los Carpinteros) to incisive social critique (Daniela Ortiz and Alexander Apóstol) to poetic reflections on history and form (Quisqueya Henríquez and Ishmael Randall Weeks). These heterogeneous approaches promise to grapple not only with midcentury modernism’s effects on the built environment but with its abiding spectral presence as an emblem of utopia. Talks, screenings, and performances at an off-site pavilion designed by Canadian artist Terence Gower and Argentinean architect Galia Solomonoff will round out the show.
Robert Gober’s iconic wax legs and oblique domestic objects possess the force of an eruption. They remain the most evocative sculptural rendition I have seen of the unconscious making itself known. That his work emerged during the plague years of HIV/AIDS only adds to the pain that typically accompanies psychic discovery. Gober is also one of our primary interlocutors with Marcel Duchampnot the Conceptual, institutional-critique Duchamp, but the more elusive and evocative strain of Duchamp’s oeuvre that concerns itself with the problems of love, desire, and marriage. This retrospective of some 140 works from the 1970s through the present includes the return of Gober’s magisterial Dia installation of 1992. The catalogue comes with an essay by critic Hilton Als: Who could ask for a more affective and intelligent pairing?
This first major US retrospective of Sturtevant’s work, which will include some fifty pieces made between 1961 and 2014, is necessary. It is necessary both for the artist, who adopted style as her medium, and for MoMA, which, in seeing its canon reflected in her oeuvre, might come to understand itself better. Half a century ago, Sturtevant realized that if you take a work of arta painting by Jasper Johns or a silk-screened print by Andy Warhol, sayand repeat it, something becomes visible. She called that thing the “understructure” of art. Nobodywith the possible exception of critic Bruce Hainley, who is featured in the cataloguehas ever been able to fully grasp what she was after. Back in the 1960s, everyone in New York dismissed her as a pain in the neck. Now that she is no longer among us, things are different, and everybody seems ready to embrace her art. Justice at last! Travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Mar.–July 2015.
What’s called “outsider art” has informed modern art for over a century; Judith Scott’s story shows that its example remains powerful. Born with Down syndrome and then left deaf by a childhood illness, Scott spent most of her first forty years in institutions until she was rescued from them by her twin sister, Joyce, in 1986. Within a couple of years, Scott began to make artworks often taking the form of irregular multicolored bundles and poles, intricately constructed of yarn and found mixed materials and with surfaces recalling the wrapping techniques of artists such as Harmony Hammond and Salvatore Scarpitta. Scott’s work is both nourishing and strange, and this exhibition, of some sixty pieces made between 1987 and the artist’s death in 2005, is her first American survey showour first chance to see her art in depth.
Featuring just under two dozen works, the Museum of Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition will present a tightly focused look at five decades of Jasper Johns’s probing of the interplay of sign, process, and device.Highlighting the artist’s diverse and often elaborate efforts in printmaking, “Picture Puzzles”assembled from private collections and the MFA’s own holdingswill also include a small sampling of drawings and sculptures and a copy of Foirades/Fizzles, the 1976 artists’ book Johns made in collaboration with Samuel Beckett. Spanning from Johns’s early gridded and layered numbers of the 1960s to the 2010 etching and aquatint Fragment of a Letterbased on an excerpt of a van Gogh missive and rendered in both stenciled type and American Sign Language pictographsthese puzzles compose a half century’s exploration of the complexities not just of image making but of representation itself.