Margaret Sundell

  • The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today

    In her seminal 1979 essay charting the possibilities for postwar sculpture, Rosalind Krauss pointed to photography’s imbrication within the medium’s “expanded field....

    In her seminal 1979 essay charting the possibilities for postwar sculpture, Rosalind Krauss pointed to photography’s imbrication within the medium’s “expanded field.” After all, many site-based works migrated from the confines of the white cube only to return to it in the form of photographic documentation. Curator Roxana Marcoci locates this moment within the ongoing—but often overlooked—dialogue between the two mediums in an ambitious exhibition of more than 300 works by 118 artists (Eugène Atget, Constantin Brancusi, Fischli & Weiss, and Rachel Harrison, to name a

  • Man Ray

    ONE COULD SAY of the Jewishness in Man Ray’s work what Theodor Adorno said of it in Gustav Mahler’s: “One can no more put one’s finger on this element than in any other work of art: It shrinks from identification yet to the whole remains indispensable.” Like the Austrian composer, Man Ray—born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia in 1890, to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents—lived in a society that, though in many ways progressive, could be intensely anti-Semitic. And like Mahler, Man Ray was Jewish and working-class at a moment when assimilation was not only a frequently practiced route

  • “Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention”

    Man Ray’s art demonstrates remarkable heterogeneity: Along with the photographs for which he’s best known, the artist made paintings, drawings, sculptural assemblages, films, even the stray book.

    Man Ray’s art demonstrates remarkable heterogeneity: Along with the photographs for which he’s best known, the artist made paintings, drawings, sculptural assemblages, films, even the stray book. According to curator Mason Klein—who assembled the two hundred–some works in the artist’s first US multimedia retrospective in more than twenty years—much of Man Ray’s disparate output reflects an ongoing concealment of his Russian-Jewish roots, a project epitomized by his adoption of a pithy nom de plume in lieu of his unmistakably ethnic given name, Emmanuel Radnitzky. While a

  • László Maholy-Nagy

    This survey of the artist’s work will reveal a figure richly deserving of the epithet “avant-garde.”

    Marking the ninetieth anniversary of the Bauhaus, the Schirn Kunsthalle presents a major retrospective of Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy, featuring prominently among its 170 individual works Raum der Gegenwart (Room for Today)—a large space animated by projected images, kinetic walls, and undulating sheets of glass. Although conceived in 1930, the installation could have easily been taken for the latest offering on the global biennial circuit when it was executed for the first time this spring at the Kunsthalle Erfurt in collaboration with the Schirn, where it will

  • Franz West

    Organized as a series of mini-installations, Franz West's first major US retrospective features a total of 117 objects, including sculpture, furniture, and works on paper, and offers visitors the rare opportunity not only to see but also to touch a wide range of the Austrian artist's work.

    Inspired by the radical, art-into-life experiments of the Viennese Actionists, Franz West's signature Paßstücke (Adaptives) lie somewhere between sculpture and prop. Motley, misshapen, mixed-media forms, they are at once (anti-)aesthetic objects and prosthetic extensions designed to transform passive spectators into active—albeit ungainly—performers. Organized as a series of mini-installations, the Austrian artist's first major US retrospective features a total of 117 objects, including sculpture, furniture, and works on paper, and offers visitors the rare opportunity not only to see but also

  • “Max Ernst in the Garden of the Nymph Ancolie”

    The heavily damaged and overpainted mural Pétales et jardin de la nymphe Ancolie (Petals in the Garden of the Nymph Ancolie) languished for decades in storage. For its US debut, Ancolie will be accompanied by some one hundred of the artist’s rarely exhibited paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the Menil’s renowned Surrealist collection, along with works selected by the Museum Tinguely in Basel—the mural’s home during restoration.

    Heavily damaged on its lower half, then darkly overpainted and covered with varnish, Pétales et jardin de la nymphe Ancolie (Petals in the Garden of the Nymph Ancolie), 1934, languished for decades in the storage facilities of the Kunsthaus Zürich. Now, restored to its vivid-hued glory, Max Ernst’s monumental mural—which takes as its central motif a birdlike “nymph” emerging from an enormous red flower—goes on view for the first time since its original display in prewar Zurich, where it graced the walls of the Mascotte nightclub. For its US

  • Sharon Lockhart

    From her early staged images with vaguely intimated story lines to her recent, structuralist-influenced films, Sharon Lockhart's work has consistently staked out an ambiguous territory between the photographic and the cinematic—a location where the flow of narrative and the stasis of repetition intersect.

    From her early staged images with vaguely intimated story lines to her recent, structuralist-influenced films, Sharon Lockhart's work has consistently staked out an ambiguous territory between the photographic and the cinematic—a location where the flow of narrative and the stasis of repetition intersect. This mid-career survey, while centering on the Los Angeles–based artist's photographs, aims to capture that driving tension by emphasizing her use of the serial format. The hybrid nature of Lockhart's projects is equally reflected in the museum's collaboration with

  • “Archive Fever”

    Despite the almost six-year interval between the two exhibitions, it is hard not to think of Okwui Enwezor’s upcoming curatorial venture, “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art,” as a kind of coda to his groundbreaking Documenta 11, with its broad recognition and catalytic endorsement of art’s recent “documentary turn.” But like that exhibition, Enwezor’s latest show, which will include eighty-seven works incorporating archival materials, in no way proposes a naive or regressive embrace of the document’s ability to convey “objective truth.” Rather, as

  • Lee Miller

    Child model for her amateur lensman father; Vogue cover girl; Man Ray’s Surrealist muse: It’s hard to imagine a woman of her era more photographed than Lee Miller.

    Child model for her amateur lensman father; Vogue cover girl; Man Ray’s Surrealist muse: It’s hard to imagine a woman of her era more photographed than Lee Miller. But as this retrospective demonstrates, Miller was also a serious imagemaker in her own right. Whether by fluke or by reaction formation, the four photographers who learned their trade in Man Ray’s atelier—Bernice Abbott, Bill Brandt, Jacques-André Boiffard, and Miller herself—all abandoned his experimental approach for straight photography. Of the 140-odd images in this exhibition, which date from the

  • Alfredo Jaar

    It’s a banner season for Alfredo Jaar: On the heels of a major survey of his work in his native Chile last fall (the first since he left the country a quarter-century ago) comes a second retrospective, in Switzerland. Featuring some thirty-three works, including photography, video, and installation, the show spans Jaar’s career, from 1979 to 2006, providing a rare chance to see documentation of an early performance and of several public interventions. Why this groundswell of interest in the artist? With the recent surfacing of snapshots from Abu Ghraib and cell-phone

  • “A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s”

    Featuring 118 works—including a newly discovered fiberglass sculpture saved by Nauman’s classmate though forgotten by the artist himself—this exhibition, curated by Constance Lewallen, promises to shed much-needed light on Nauman’s early career.

    Bruce Nauman may have made his name in seminal New York group shows such as Lucy Lippard’s “Eccentric Abstraction” (Fischbach Gallery, 1966) and Marcia Tucker and James Monte’s “Anti-Illusion” (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1969), but the artist was then living in the Bay Area, where he received his MFA from UC Davis in 1966 and later taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. Featuring 118 works—including a newly discovered fiberglass sculpture saved by Nauman’s classmate though forgotten by the artist himself—this exhibition, curated by Constance Lewallen, promises

  • Joseph Cornell

    About as close to an outsider artist as an insider can get, Joseph Cornell was a compulsive collector with no formal art training, who toiled in his basement in Queens, New York, transforming his stash—seashells, newspaper clippings, Dutch clay pipes—into uncannily beautiful assemblages.

    About as close to an outsider artist as an insider can get, Joseph Cornell was a compulsive collector with no formal art training, who toiled in his basement in Queens, New York, transforming his stash—seashells, newspaper clippings, Dutch clay pipes—into uncannily beautiful assemblages. That Cornell merits the appellation “American art master,” as this exhibition proclaims, is beyond dispute. But more in the mold of Robert Rauschenberg or of Henry Darger? Visitors to this retrospective—the artist’s first in twenty-five years—can decide for themselves. Lynda Roscoe