Thomas J. Lax

  • OPENINGS: KEVIN BEASLEY

    KEVIN BEASLEY kneels before two turntables in the lower-level theater of New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. He’s in the middle of a set that is by turns haunting and propulsive, mixing samples that range from extra-percussive house beats to attenuated ambulance sirens, as his spoken-word excerpts betray their midwestern origins and unmistakably American character. Lines from Malcolm X’s 1962 speech “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” are audible one minute; the next, the Cleveland neighbor who helped free Amanda Berry after she was held hostage for a decade recounts the story of her discovery.

  • Chris Ofili

    CHRIS OFILI’S RECEPTION in New York has unfolded in near-mythological terms: From the infamous censorship and defacement of his work during the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition “Sensation” (1999) to the enthusiasm for his showstopping “Afro Muses” (2005) at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the local response has embodied all the necessary repulsion, romance, and awe one might expect from a contemporary epic.

    “Night and Day” is a follow-up to the artist’s 2010 retrospective at Tate Britain, and his first major survey in the US. It presents two decades of work, made up of one hundred–plus works on paper,

  • “Ruffneck Constructivists”

    In 2006, Kara Walker made her curatorial debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her post-Katrina exhibition “After the Deluge.” Her sophomore effort’s mash-up title, “Ruffneck Constructivists,” conjoins the ethos of Russia’s revolutionary avant-garde with MC Lyte’s early-1990s track. Walker will go beyond her authorial interest in the psychosexual phantasms of American cultural history in selecting more than thirty recent works by artists from the US, Eastern Europe, and South Africa: Dineo Bopape, Kendell Geers, Arthur Jafa, Kahlil Joseph, Jennie C. Jones, Deana

  • “William Pope.L: Forlesen”

    William Pope.L’s first solo exhibition in Chicago since moving to the city takes its title from science fiction writer Gene Wolfe’s 1974 short story “Forlesen.” Much like Wolfe’s allegorical, nested narrative in which a lifetime of negotiating a corporate bureaucracy occurs in a single day, Pope.L constructs his own labyrinthine exhibition space within the gallery: Drawings hang on successively larger walls, which together form a spaceship-like or phallic shape. Inside the shaft’s head, stacked monitors play cropped and abstracted porn from the 1980s and ’90s, and next to

  • “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey”

    “Wangechi Mutu has spent the past decade-plus proving that collage— modernism’s foundational medium—still has plenty of space left for innovation.”

    Nairobi-born, Brooklyn-based artist Wangechi Mutu has spent the past decade-plus proving that collage— modernism’s foundational medium—still has plenty of space left for innovation through her depictions of cyborg-femme figures in various states of seduction, distension, and distress. This first major solo museum exhibition and catalogue (with essays by the curator, dream hampton, Mutu, Kristine Stiles, and Greg Tate) will survey the artist’s contributions to ideas of transnational feminism, Afro-Futurism, and globalization in collage, sculpture, drawing,

  • “Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks”

    A homecoming for the young Chicago-born artist, Rashid Johnson’s first major museum survey comprises approximately forty works from the past decade.

    A homecoming for the young Chicago-born artist, Rashid Johnson’s first major museum survey comprises approximately forty works from the past decade. Suggesting new connections between populism, modernism, and the occult, the exhibition includes self- and community portraits made using early photographic printing technologies; shrinelike installations of plants, gilded rocks, shea butter, and album covers; as well as recent large-scale paintings and newly commissioned floor works that build on the artist’s facility with abstraction. The show’s title—borrowed from